Fernando Alonso may be on the hunt for motorsport’s Triple Crown this year – but before attempting victory at the 2019 Indianapolis 500 to complete that feat, the two-time F1 champion clocked up another remarkable achievement in a remarkable career by winning the foreshortened 2019 running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the USA on Sunday.
Driving alongside team mates Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande and former Sauber F1 racer Kamui Kobayashi, Alonso braved heavy rains in the Florida classic – which had to be red flagged twice because of treacherous conditions – to claim victory behind the wheel of his Cadillac DPi-V.R run by Wayne Taylor Racing.
“I’m very, very proud of the job that we achieved today,” said Alonso. “But it was not a one day job, it was a one month job. For me, in December we started preparing for the race and receiving all the documents, how the Cadillac works and how Wayne Taylor Racing works, some procedures that maybe are different compared with other teams.
“We tried to have a quick integration, Kamui and myself, trying to learn as much as we could from the team… The race itself, it was very, very difficult. Conditions were changing all the time.”
It was Alonso’s second attempt in as many years at Daytona, having raced there in 2018alongside Lando Norris, the man who’ll drive in one of the seats vacated by Alonso at McLaren for 2019.
Meanwhile, the Spaniard becomes just the third Formula 1 world champion to take victory at Daytona, following in the footsteps of 1961 champ Phil Hill – who won the 2,000km race in 1964 – and 1978 champ Mario Andretti, who won the six-hour race there in 1972.