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Rapturous reception for Alonso in Oviedo 30 Oct 2006

A civic reception for double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso (ESP), Renault, was held in Oviedo, Spain. Civic Reception for Fernando Alonso, Oviedo, Spain, 29 October 2006. World © Sutton.

Renault’s Fernando Alonso returned to his hometown of Oviedo, Spain on Sunday, to finally celebrate his championship triumph with local fans. More than 20,000 Spaniards flocked to the city’s cathedral square to congratulate its most famous son.

"For me it is an honour to see the city like this, with the banners, with the support you give me, and everybody in blue and yellow,” announced Alonso to the cheering crowd, from a balcony overlooking the square. “I want to thank you.

“You show your support at every race, at every Grand Prix, and I think I can say that I have the best supporters in the world. You see this in other sports, to have the fans chanting, but not in motorsport. Very few drivers can have this, and I am privileged to be one of them.”

Alonso claimed his second consecutive drivers’ title earlier this month, after a hard-fought battle with Michael Schumacher. His success followed a number of setbacks, including the banning of Renault’s mass damper system, and an unexpected qualifying penalty at the Italian Grand Prix. Alonso, however, told his fans that he had never given up hope.

“There was a lot of pressure, and a lot of anger inside me as well,” he revealed. “There had been things we did not understand, that seemed unfair and against the sport, and we had to take victory to show that the sport always comes out on top in the end, and that the good guys do win.”

This week Alonso will visit team members based at Renault’s French factory in Viry-Chatillon, before enjoying a holiday ahead of his move to McLaren for 2007.