Audi and Sainz Sr. Conquer Sand Dunes in Historic Rally Win

Audi and Sainz Sr. Conquer Sand Dunes in Historic Rally Win

Analysis

F1

January 19th, 2024

Audi's electric ambitions roared to life in the Saudi Arabian desert as veteran rally legend Carlos Sainz Sr. clinched a historic Dakar Rally victory, etching his name into the record books and claiming the German manufacturer's first-ever title in the grueling event.

Carlos Sainz Sr. Conquers the Dakar at 61, Claiming Audi's Maiden Victory

Sainz, the 61-year-old father of Formula 1 star Carlos Sainz Jr., proved age is just a number, dominating the competition to finish a staggering one hour, 20 minutes, and 25 seconds ahead of runner-up Guillaume de Mevius. This triumph marks the Spaniard's fourth Dakar Rally win, solidifying his place among the event's all-time greats.

No stranger to the podium, Sainz previously conquered the Dakar in 2010, 2018, and 2020, but at the wheel of different steeds – Mini, Volkswagen, and Peugeot. This year, however, he blazed a trail through the scorching sands aboard Audi's revolutionary RS Q e-tron, propelling the electric innovator to its maiden Dakar victory.

"To be here at my age and stay at this level, you need to work a lot beforehand," Sainz declared after his triumphant finish. "It doesn't just come like that. It shows that when you work hard, normally it pays off."

Sainz Sr. & Audi Blaze a Trail for a New Era in Dakar History

Sainz Jr., echoing his father's elation, expressed immense pride: "I'm proud, relieved, and happy, obviously, of what he has achieved. He is incredible at his age and this project was his dream, and he made it happen."

This victory adds even more shine to Sainz Sr.'s remarkable career, especially considering his dramatic exit from the 2023 Dakar Rally due to a fractured back sustained during a dune rollover. Undeterred by the setback, he returned with unwavering determination, proving that the Dakar spirit burns bright within him.

While Sainz remains the undisputed master of the dunes, only two other racers boast more Dakar titles – Qatar's Nasser Al Attiyah with five trophies and France's legendary Stephane Peterhansel with a staggering eight.

Whether Sainz Sr. will defend his crown next year remains a tantalizing question. "At the moment, I want to enjoy this victory and I will think about my future in the next weeks," he said, leaving the possibility of an epic Dakar encore wide open.

With his latest feat, Carlos Sainz Sr. has cemented his legacy as a Dakar icon, inspiring both motorsport veterans and aspiring champions. His age-defying performance and Audi's electrifying debut signify a new era in Dakar history, where experience and innovation charge headfirst into the unforgiving desert.

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img via: AUDI

tag: Carlos Sainz , Audi , F1

Klei Hoxha Author

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