Fernando Alonso ended 2021 by repeating his Qatar Grand Prix podium finish – but this time in the Dubai 24 Hours of Karting.
The Spaniard declared during the post-season test in Abu Dhabi that he was hotfooting it over to Dubai straight afterwards for a practice session, fitting in one more racing commitment before hanging up his crash helmet over the festive break.
And it went pretty well for the two-time former World Champion in the EBC Brakes Endurance Championship event as his team came home third – the same position he had occupied for Alpine in Qatar behind Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Alonso was part of the MD Racing karting team with Pedro Martinez de la Rosa, Angel Burgueno, Alberto Fernandez Galle and Nikola Tsolov, a Bulgarian driver from his karting academy.
The Spanish edition of Motorsport.com report that Alonso started from pole position ahead of 27 rivals after winning the qualifying race.
In total, Alonso’s team completed 1,132 laps of the Dubai karting circuit and finished 25 seconds behind the winners, EBC Brakes Racing, and only 0.18sec adrift of runners-up Superdryve Maffi Racing.
“Another 24-hour race at the Dubai Kartodrome Circuit with this amazing team. Incredible atmosphere and top organization as always!” Alonso wrote on Instagram.
Rested and ready. An incredible stay here at @radissondubaidamachills for these 24 hours, surely I will come back soon . Now, one more Simulator day tomorrow , and then time for Christmas 🎄. Best wishes to everyone 💙 https://t.co/0LwnsRBu5Q
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) December 19, 2021
During the Pirelli 18-inch tyre test in Abu Dhabi, Alonso indicated he was not feeling physically in need of a break despite having contested 22 races in less than nine months in his first Formula 1 season since 2018. That was clearly proven by his appearance in the Dubai endurance karting event.
The 40-year-old’s winter is fairly well mapped out, for in January he plans to have the plates removed from his face which were inserted after he was knocked off his bicycle while training in Lugano, Switzerland last February.
“I can start the season next week in Bahrain!,” joked Alonso, who finished 10th in the 2021 Drivers’ standings and hopes to be more competitive when the new F1 regulations kick in.
“No, I was planning to have a different preparation next year, not because the cars will be different but just because last winter I couldn’t do a proper preparation because of the bike accident.
“I think we need a good winter, that’s for sure. I need to be prepared or to get ready a little bit better than last year. The accident in February with the bicycle didn’t help.”
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