Sainz Sr led practically everything of the 12-stage, two-week marathon in Saudi Arabia to attain his fourth profession victory in Dakar, cementing his place as one of many biggest rally drivers of all time.
Intriguingly, the Audi driver didn’t win a single stage on his seventeenth look in Dakar, with consistency, and never outright pace, serving to him beat the likes of Sebastien Loeb, Nasser Al-Attiyah and personal team-mates Mattias Ekstrom and Stephane Peterhansel.
Avoiding the type of mechanical points that beset his rivals, Sainz was additionally capable of minimise the time loss throughout punctures and was 13 minutes away from Prodrive rival Loeb when he stopped on Stage 11 after breaking the suspension of his Hunter.
Sainz Jr, who was the one non-Pink Bull driver to win an F1 race in 2023, thinks the 61-year-old gained the Dakar as a result of his method to the rally was smarter than his rivals.
After travelling to Saudi Arabia to have fun victory within the bivouac at Yanbu, he mentioned: “I requested him to not race [hard] daily as a result of on the finish of the day the Dakar is an endurance race and he likes to race rather a lot,” mentioned the two-time grand prix winner.
“He needed to race rather a lot to win, however he was smarter than anybody else and managed the race as solely he is aware of how.
“The Dakar was good, he did the neatest Dakar I’ve ever seen him do in my life. He managed it completely and confirmed that he additionally has expertise.”
He added: “2024 has began nicely, and now now we have to proceed like this for the Sainz household.
“You’ll be able to’t think about the pleasure of a father, of a husband, of all the things. Listed below are all his greatest pals, not simply me, and there are all of the individuals who love him and encourage him at each second.”
Photograph by: Pink Bull Content material Pool
Winner #204 Group Audi Sport Audi RS Q e-tron E2: Carlos Sainz Sr., Lucas Cruz
Sainz Sr suffered a number of backbone fractures in a hefty crash in Dakar final yr however was capable of return to Saudi Arabia for his seventeenth straight look within the rally.
This yr’s occasion, the forty sixth within the historical past of Dakar, featured a vastly totally different route in comparison with 2023, with the addition of a two-day stage in Empty Quarter the most important speaking level of the yr.
Sainz Jr feels the time and assets his father dedicated to making ready for this yr’s rally helped him emerge because the winner.
“It has been a really lengthy Dakar, a really laborious Dakar with every kind of terrain, every kind of levels, some new ones just like the 48-hour stage, the marathon that was there,” he mentioned.
“There was all the things, and he has been capable of get via all of it. In the important thing levels can be the place he has carried out the perfect, and that exhibits you that he has come very nicely ready, very motivated and so they have nailed it.”
Audi has confronted a slew of points with its electric-powered RS Q e-tron prototype because it joined Dakar in 2022, with many feeling it made a step again in its second yr of competitors in ‘23.
That’s why few had pegged the German producer because the favorite for what was going to be its remaining outing in Dakar this yr, pending official affirmation, regardless of the upgrades it had revamped the winter.
However Sainz was capable of construct on the potential Audi had proven within the final two years, with team-mates Ekstrom and Peterhansel additionally scoring particular person stage wins to spherical off its brief, three-year tenure in Dakar.
Talking of the job Audi had carried out, Sainz Jr, who has been linked with a transfer to its upcoming Components 1 venture in 2026, mentioned: “It was a really bold venture for Audi, however the third time was the allure.
“They’ve nailed it, they’ve carried out an ideal Dakar, each Audi and he, and I feel they deserve it as a result of they’ve carried out a powerful race from the primary day.”