The move has been an open secret with Alonso entering rallies in South Africa and Morocco as preparation with fellow Spaniard and former Dakar motorcycle winner Marc Coma as co-driver.

The Dakar Rally has come a long way since its origins as a race from Paris to Senegal, with the 2020 edition taking place in Saudi Arabia for the first time after moving from South America.

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Alonso's entry was announced ahead of this weekend's Spanish round of the rally world championship.

The Spaniard is also seeking to win the Indianapolis 500 to complete the so-called Triple Crown of Motorsport, after winning the other two parts at Le Mans and in Formula One.

The 38-year-old hung up his helmet as a McLaren Formula One driver last year.

Qatar's Nasser al-Attiyah, a three times winner, is the reigning Dakar champion and is also returning with Toyota.

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