Multiple rally champion ‘King Carlos’ shows he can still rule in Dakar
CHILECITO, Argentina: Former winner Carlos Sainz claimed the fourth stage of the Dakar Rally and the overall lead last week, with defending champion Stephane Peterhansel in second despite enduring a second successive day of punctures.
SMG Buggy driver Sainz, the 2010 Dakar champion, finished more than six minutes ahead of Peterhansel, an 11-time winner on four wheels and two, with Al-Attiyah, the 2011 victor, coming home in third place on the run from San Juan to Chilecito.
It was Sainz’s 26th career stage win on the grueling event, and gave him an overall advantage over Nani Roma and Al-Attiyah, both driving Minis.
Sainz, nicknamed “King Carlos” for his dominance in rally racing, won the World Rally Championship (WRC) with Toyota in 1990 and 1992, and finished runner-up four times. His efforts have also helped his various teams to take WRC constructors’ titles; Subaru in 1995, Toyota in 1999 and Citroen from 2003 to 2005.
Sainz holds the WRC record for most career starts, and is also the first driver who is neither Scandinavian or Finnish to win the 1,000 Lakes Rally of Finland, as well as finishing in Rally Sweden in second spot for four times and in third place twice. Besides his Dakar title, Sainz also counts Race of Champions (1997) and the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (1990).
The 2014 Dakar Rally took off from Santa Fe, Argentina, on January 5 and will finish on January 18 at Valparaiso, Chile.