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F1 champ Alonso adds intrigue to Indy 500

dpa logodpa 26/05/2017 Mark Meadows

The two most famous motorsport races in the world take place on Sunday with Fernando Alonso trading in the Monaco F1 Grand Prix for the Indianapolis 500.

Fernando Alonso is widely regarded as one of the best drivers ever to get into a Formula One car.

Yet he has failed to add to his two world titles in 2005 and 2006 after a series of wrong moves and misfortune.

Now the Spaniard hopes a change of series prompts a change of luck - if only for one race.

The 35-year-old has been given permission by struggling F1 team McLaren to race in this weekend's Indianapolis 500 - the pinnacle of US motorsport.

Competing in a very different car on a very different oval track might seem a tall order for most racing drivers, but so far Alonso has excelled in practice and qualifying and has looked like he has been racing there all his life.

"I want to live the moment, I want to live the experience," Alonso told reporters.

But most of all, he wants to win.

He has qualified fifth and given the more unpredictable nature of IndyCar compared with Formula One, victory is not out of the question.

Alonso though is playing down his hopes, given he is not used to racing with cars all bunched together and all travelling at 370 kilometres per hour.

"I still lack experience in important moments of the race," Alonso said.

"I will try to compensate with the speed, with motivation and we will see what happens."

Alonso is missing the most glamorous race on the F1 calendar, the Monaco Grand Prix, for his IndyCar experiment.

Ironically Monaco is the only race this season where Alonso's McLaren might not have looked so bad, the winding street circuit being the slowest of the year and experience counting for a lot.

Retired former world champion Jenson Button will take Alonso's place in Monaco.

Alonso has the chance to show he really is a motorsport great at the Indy 500.

Success in the race could herald a future permanent switch to the United States, but Alonso is no doubt wary of another ill-fated move after having failed to be competitive on a regular basis since leaving Renault, for the first time, more than a decade ago.

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