Who is Carlos Sainz, the king of the Dakar?

The Spanish driver won his second rally in 8 years, after 5 consecutive defeats

Who is Carlos Sainz, the king of the Dakar?

The Spaniard Carlos Sainz was crowned champion in the car category of the most difficult rally raid in the world, the Dakar Rally, which ended on Sunday in Córdoba (Argentina). The 55 year old pilot had already won this test in 2010 and his record for this year was 49 hours with 16 minutes.

Sainz, running for Peugeot Total team, exceeded by 43 minutes his main pursuer, Nasser al-Attiyah from Qatar, double winner of this test in 2011 and 2015. The champion was accompanied during the 14 stages that were run in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina by his compatriot Lucas Cruz, who also joined him in the 2010 campaign.

The Spanish team, driving a Peugeot 3008 DKR, won only two stages during the race: number six, between the Peruvian city of Arequipa and the Bolivian city of La Paz; and number seven, between La Paz and Uyuni. It was in this second triumph that he assumed the leadership of the Dakar and never left it.

The champion is also recognized for winning twice the world title in the World Rally Championship, in 1990 and 1992. Also, he won two-time Spanish rally champion in 1987 and 1988, and he was the winner of the 1997 Race of Champions.

How did Sainz get his second Dakar title?

Carlos Sainz won the championship in 2010, driving a Volkswagen Touareg, in the race that started in Buenos Aires, passed through Antofagasta (Chile), and returned to the Argentine capital. In 2011, in the same car and team, Sainz won seven stages but finished third in the overall standings. The title ended up in the hands of al-Attiyah, who was in the same team of the Spanish.

The following participations of Sainz in the Dakar were marked by technical problems and accidents that forced him to leave. In 2013, after several failed stages in his buggy, he left in the fifth stage. In 2014 he signed for the Peugeot team and despite winning two stages, he crashed in the ninth and his car was destroyed.

The following year, he had another accident and his car overturned, leaving him out of the race. In 2016 and 2017, he did not finish due to a breakdown and another accident, respectively.

In 2018, in his fourth year representing Peugeot, Sainz had a gerat Dakar. In the middle of the race, Sainz had a considerable advantage over al-Attiyah, 1 hour and 19 minutes, which allowed him to run the stages with ease, and even afford to waste time, intelligently managing it.

Who won in the other categories?

For the category of motorcycles, the Austrian Matthias Walkner was crowned, piloting a KTM. Walkner won the tenth stage and took the lead until the race ended. He excelled the Argentine Kevin Benavides by 16 minutes.

In Quads won the Chilean Ignacio Casale aboard a Yamaha, who won 5 stages and was leader from start to finish. The Argentine and rookie, Nicolás Cavigliasso was second, 1 hour and 38 minutes behind the Chilean. It is the second title for Casale in this modality in the Dakar, after the one achieved in 2014.

In trucks, the Russian Eduard Nikoláiev won his third title and the second consecutive in the Dakar (winner in 2013, 2017, and 2018). He won 4 stages and was leader between the second and the tenth and then he returned as leader in the twelfth until the end. He arrived almost four hours apart from Siarhei Viazovich's team.

Finally, for the category of UTVs, the Brazilian Reinaldo Varela won, competing for the first time in this category on the Dakar. He won 5 stages and was leader from the fifth stage to the end of the competition. In this category, only 6 of the 11 participating teams managed to reach the goal.


LatinAmerican Post | Iván Parada Hernández
Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza

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