Tue, Oct 24, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Spaniards celebrate Alonso's second title


Thousands of people thronged the streets of Fernando Alonso's home city of Oviedo on Sunday, celebrating their favorite son's second successive Formula One drivers' world title.

Two thousand watched the race from the comfort of city's main auditorium but several thousand others braved the inclement conditions and viewed the Brazilian Grand Prix in front of a giant screen erected outside in one of the city's main squares.

Many of Alonso's fans were decked out in the Asturias region's flag of a light blue background with a yellow cross on it, the colors of which neatly correspond with the Renault livery.

Interviews on Spanish television with Alonso's local fans on Sunday suggested that the parties in the city were unlikely to end much before dawn.

"His victory is an example for Spanish youth," said Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who called Alonso by telephone shortly after his second place in Sao Paulo clinched his world title.

Around 12,000 people also watched Alonso's triumph on a screen in Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

However, the numbers were lower than expected because the rain persuaded many to watch the race in bars before watching Spain's classic soccer derby.

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