Sainz praises dad's 'smart' victory in 2024 Dakar Rally


Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has been celebrating his dad's latest victory in the iconic Dakar Rally.

It was former world rally champion Sainz Sr's 17th outing in the race. Although he didn't lead any of the 12 stages, it was consistency rather than outright speed that saw him take the overall victory.

“He had to race a lot to win, but he was smarter than anyone else and managed the race as only he knows how," said Sainz Jr.

"He did the smartest Dakar I've ever seen him do in my life," he added. "He managed it perfectly and showed that he also has experience.

"I asked him not to race [hard] every day because at the end of the day the Dakar is an endurance race and he likes to race a lot,”

"2024 has started well," he smiled. "Now we have to continue like this for the Sainz family!"

Sainz travelled to Saudi Arabia to join in the celebrations for Audi's victory in the bivouac at Yanbu.

"Here are all his best friends, not just me, and there are all the people who love him and encourage him at every moment,' Sainz Jr said. “You can't imagine the pride of a father, of a husband, of everything."

Sainz was lucky to be back in action this year after suffering multiple spine fractures in an accident during last year's race.

This year's event was held on a reconfigured configuration, including the addition of a two-day stage in the Empty Quarter.

"It has been a very long Dakar," acknowledged Sainz Jr. "A very hard Dakar with all kinds of terrain, all kinds of stages, some new ones like the 48-hour stage, the marathon that was there.

"There has been everything, and he has been able to get through it all. In the key stages is also where he has done the best. That shows you he has come very well prepared, very motivated and they have nailed it.”

“It was a very ambitious project for Audi, but the third time was the charm," he added. “They nailed it, they have done a perfect Dakar, both Audi and he. They deserve it because they have done an impressive race from the first day."

Coincidentally, Sainz Jr has also been linked to a possible future role with Audi when the German manufacturer completes its takeover of Sauber in 2026.


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