Carlos Sainz with Volkswagen at the “Dakar”
With 26 victories to his credit, Carlos Sainz is the most successful driver in World Rally Championship history. On New Year's Eve the Spaniard takes a new step in his career: The two-time World Champion makes his Dakar Rally debut
as Volkswagen works driver. “After having been in preparation for this event since the summer, I'm happy that it's about to get under way”, explains Carlos Sainz before the start in Lisbon. “We tested intensively over the last few months and I feel very confident in the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2.”
Sainz is praised by Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen before the start: "Carlos has confirmed in every aspect that he is a professional. He takes his new job very seriously. It is impressive that a world star like Carlos commits so much energy for a new project after so many years in motorsport.”
In the "Dakar”, rally star Carlos Sainz must cope with many new circumstances: While a reconnaissance run is made on the tracks in classic rallies, he drives completely ‘blind' over unknown terrain in the "Dakar”. Sainz, well-known for his very detailed "prayer book" (track description) in the World Rally Championship, must decipher the limited information found in co-driver Andy Schulz's road-book in cross country rallying. Instead of a maximum 350 kilometres in three days, as during his last guest appearance in the WRC in June 2005 at the Acropolis Rally, the Dakar Rally runs over 4,813 stage kilometres in 15 days. Instead of luxury hotels, humble accommodation and nights in a one-man tent await the Spanish sports star. Sainz can expect support from his co-driver, the two-time "Dakar” winner, Andy Schulz. "I'll certainly have to give Carlos a hand on the way, for example to help him when he puts up his tent for the first time”, thinks the German.
When Carlos Sainz rolls off the start ramp in Lisbon on New Year's Eve he can be assured of the fans support. The Spaniard contested his first World Championship rally in the neighbouring country in 1987; the start was just down the road in Estoril. Sainz celebrated two wins at the Portuguese World Championship rounds in 1991 and 1995. Sainz also crowned his debut in the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 with third place in October 2005 at the Rally Baja Portalegre. "The first two stages south of Lisbon should suit Carlos, as they are similar to classic rally tracks”, believes co-driver Andy Schulz. Over 200,000 spectators are expected to line the two European stages. Andy Schulz is convinced that Sainz can surprise a few people. "It's quite possible that we travel on the ferry to Africa as overall leader in the evening of the 1 January. And I firmly believe that we could be on the podium in Dakar.”
Press Release Volkswagen Motorsport