Carlos Sainz has been a member of Volkswagen’s factory line-up for cross-country rally racing since 2005. His previous, 17-year track record included titles in the World Rally Championship and other top achievements.
The biography of the Volkswagen factory driver features a myriad of remarkable aspects. Here’s a collection of facts about the career of the Spaniard who will contest the Dakar Rally for Volkswagen from 02 to 16 January 2010.
Did you know that —
— Carlos Sainz had been a successful athlete even before his motorsport career? In 1978, at the age of 16, he won the Spanish Squash Championship.–
— the Spaniard had initially pursued an academic education? He studied law up to the second scheduled cycle before completely dedicating himself to motorsport.
— at the beginning of his career the motorsport discipline the young talent would choose was anything but certain? Sainz was contesting circuit races and rallies in parallel. 1983 saw him win a title in each of these disciplines this way, the Copa Nacional Renault and the Zona Centro de Rallyes.
— circuit racing kept coming up on his agenda over the course of three career decades? After his initial attempts in the eighties Sainz, in 1999, completed a test in an LM-GTP vehicle in preparation for a possible run at the 24 Hours of Le Mans that did not come to pass, though. In 2008 and 2009 the Spaniard contested the 24 Hours on the Nurburgring in a Scirocco GT24 for Volkswagen.
— the early promoters of his career included his brother Antonio, friend Juan Carlos Oñoro and Juanjo Lacalle? Lacalle became Sainz’s permanent manager and was one of his first co-drivers in the rally cockpit.
— unlike other top-calibre athletes, Carlos Sainz never emigrated to another country but always remained faithful to his native Madrid?
— he married his partner Reyes there in 1992? The couple have three children: daughter Blanca (born in 1993), son Carlos (born in 1994) and daughter Ana (born in 1998).
— Carlos Sainz contested his first World Rally Championship round in Portugal in 1987? The driver who had just ascended to the WRC and was still unknown to the international rally world immediately demonstrated his potential to the world’s elite assembled at the round by setting two fastest times and defending the lead for a short time.
— the man from Madrid clinched his first world champion’s title just three years later?
— Sainz won the FIA Asia-Pacific World Rally Championship the same year as well?
— two years later, in 1992, his second world champion’s title was celebrated?
— Carlos Sainz – between 1990 and 2003 – finished the World Rally Championship among the top three eleven times, which makes him one of the consistently quickest drivers of all time?
— the Spaniard won 26 world championship rounds in rally racing and was thus a record holder for a while?
— he set his personal record – of all places – at rounds that were further away from his home than any others? Sainz won the New Zealand Rally four times.
— no less than 97 podium places World Rally Championship rounds were clinched by Carlos Sainz?
— the Spaniard proved his adaptability to a new discipline at Volkswagen? In 2005 he contested his first cross-country rally, in 2007 he won the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup for Volkswagen and – to date – has taken eight podium finishes at 14 events, four of which were single wins.
— even as a cross-country rally driver, Carlos Sainz competes in his old discipline, sprint rally racing? In 2007, at the wheel of a product from the Volkswagen Group – a Skoda Fabia WRC – he won the Shalymar Rally. 27 years earlier, in 1980, this event marked the first rally in his career.
— in the 2009 season Spanish has been spoken for the first time in four years in Sainz’s cockpit? Up to 2005 his fellow countryman Marc Marti navigated him in the World Rally Championship, now Lucas Cruz is at his side at cross-country rallies.
— the duo Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz has not been beaten so far? The Spanish double won its first two rallies in this formation, the Rallye dos Sertões and the Silk Way Rally in 2009.
Supplied by Volkswagen