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Sainz expands his legend as double Dakar and world rally champion

Sainz expands his legend as double Dakar and world rally champion
Carlos Sainz today enlarged his legend in the history of the motoring by winning his second Dakar, just in its fortieth edition, which is the tenth in South America and the toughest and most extreme in recent years.
With this achieved victory, Sainz is, at 55 years old, double Dakar champion (2010 and 2018) and also double world rally champion (1990 and 1992), a combination only surpassed by the Finns Ari Vatanen (one world championship and 4 Dakar ) and Juha Kankkunen (4 world championships and one Dakar).
Born on April 12, 1962 in Madrid, this triumph with Catalan Lucas Cruz as co-driver makes Sainz the Spaniard with the most Dakar victories in cars, followed by Joan ‘Nani’ Roma with his 2014 Dakar.
Since he made his Dakar debut in 2006 after retiring two years before the World Rally Championship, Sainz’s commitment to this race has been constant, and almost absolute, until he became a fixed face of the event, with only one absence, in 2012 , within the last twelve editions.
Sainz has raced the Dakar eleven times with three manufacturers and is one of the few drivers who has won it with two different brands, the German Volkswagen (2010) and now with the French Peugeot (2018), without previously being able to do so with an SMG. Buggy.
In this period, Sainz has alternated great joys, such as his two historic victories in the rally, accompanied by 31 stages won, with acute disappointments, such as the six retirements he has had to face, five of them consecutively until this year.
Especially painful were those of 2009, when his car ended up overturned in a four-meter-high ravine due to an error in the road book; and 2017, when his Peugeot ended up wrecked when he left the track and fell down an embankment giving several turns of the bell.
Disappointing blows like those brought to mind the sad helplessness of the phrases “we screw it up, Luis” and “try to get it off, Carlos, for God’s sake,” expressions that have marked his career, both for being on the verge of achieving two other world titles in rallies in 1995 and 1998, respectively, with Luis Moya as co-driver.
In the first episode, he went off the track on the last stage; and in the second, the most remembered, his car broke down half a kilometer from the finish line.
On both occasions he had by his side his co-driver for fifteen years and eternal friend Luis Moya, who at the beginning of this Dakar gave Sainz “a good scare” when he suffered a brain aneurysm from which he was operated and from which he is currently recovering in Galicia.
Hardened in these struggles, Sainz has been even more reserved than usual on this Dakar and has taken extreme precautions to the maximum, focused on going “day by day”, a phrase that he repeated as if it were a mantra.
“There is one day less,” he said every time he got out of the car after finishing a stage, despite the fact that the wide advantage he had in the race, especially in the last days, allowed him to venture out as the winner of this Dakar.
However, Sainz did not think of winning until the moment he crossed the finish line, “because at any moment surprise comes”, another of his most used phrases these days, said with his mind set on those fateful episodes of the past.
Although he tries not to lose his composure under any circumstances, it was inevitable for him to shed some tears when he won his first Dakar eight years ago, in a much tighter way against the Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah than now against the experienced Stéphane Peterhansel.
Those who know him from his beginnings in the world of rallying say that he was always so cautious and calculating, as when in 1987 and 1988 he won the Spanish rally championship, while he was beginning to make his first steps in the world championship.
He remained the same, without raising his voice or shouting, but firm in his successes, when in 1990 he became the first and only Spaniard to proclaim himself world rally champion, a success that he would repeat two years later.
During his sixteen seasons in that discipline, Sainz won 26 rallies, and is the fourth most successful driver in the history of the World Championship, only behind the Frenchmen Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier and the Finnish Marcus Grönholm.
Going to the Dakar was a complex challenge, but Sainz’s adaptability to drive both on and off track further consolidates him as the best rally driver in the history of Spain.
Outside the motor, Sainz was also proclaimed champion of Spain of squash at the age of 16 and in 2006 he made a foray into football, when he joined the candidacy of Juan Miguel Villar Mir for the presidency of Real Madrid, which he lost to Ramón Calderón . EFE
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