In Competition: Dakar 2016: The third youth of Carlos Sainz

Many times it is said that age is a state of mind and that despite the fact that the years do not pass in vain, the people are more positive tend to cope better with the inevitable passage of time. If we can find an example in terms of strength, commitment, ambition, commitment and competitiveness within the auto industry, that is without a doubt Carlos Sainz, that at 53 years of age, is going through his third youth sports.

If we take 14 and a half minutes he lost in the second stage by electrical problems in the motor and the puncture suffered in the fourth (which also left nearly three minutes, in addition to step foreword where it left off a few seconds when you lose the hood in a ford), now in the madrid would be a leader once again in the Dakar, and possibly in time to have three stage wins for Sébastien Loeb, it would be Carlos Sainz which would add two more to his resume, equalling Jacky Ickx as the third participant in a car with more wins partial, 29.

The two titles of champion of the WRC in the late nineties, finish his career in the World Rally championship, fighting for wins and possibly being the pilot of his generation who ended up in better shape, (and winning). Without hardly any time in the reserve, in 2005 Sainz decided to follow the same path of Vatanen, Kankkunen or McRae and sign up for the Dakar Rally, a race that will certainly be hooked and kept alive their competitive spirit during the last decade, with two-point moments, the victory in the Cup of the FIA World Rally championship Cross-Country in 2007 and the victory in the second Dakar rally in south america.

The output of Volkswagen left the question of whether Sainz would still be competitive after a year standing, and with a structure not official, but what is certain is that the one who had, retained. Sainz was able to get up to three stage victories with buggies Jefferies (made by order of Nasser Al-Attiyah) and the SMG. Two 4×2 that were not the pinnacle of performance but that the own Sainz ran for two editions before really getting into the project with Peugeot Sport, something that showed how difficult it is to build a car of these characteristics that is able to face up to the all-wheel drive.

Carlos Sainz (ESP) from Team Peugeot Total performs during prologue stage of Rally Dakar 2016 in Arrecifes, Argentina on January 2, 2016After the disappointing 2015, where the 2008 DKR proved to be green, the work done throughout the year was vital, building a buggy is completely new with a concept that is 100% different. The time they gave the reason, and despite the fact that they do not have them all with in a matter of reliability, have been able to sign up all the stage wins as possible, showing a higher speed that the dominator of the past years, the MINI of X-Raid.

Here is where it comes back Sainz. After a season in which he had to stop almost half a year for the injury to the Achilles ‘ heel of (therefore could not participate in the development of the car, or drive to maintain the pace), at the age of 53 and having in front of him riders from the likes of Peterhansel and Loeb, Carlos has proved to be in a moment of completely enviable. Your smile after the comeback of the fourth stage, in which he was able to neutralize almost two minutes of a disadvantage with Loeb, his statements yesterday admitting that he was not attacking or being aware that he would be leading were it not for the electrical problem, let us see that ‘the matador’ is enjoying more than ever.

The pace shown by the Spanish couple has enabled them to do all the stages to the counter, with a few late-stage stratospheric in which the Peugeot 2008 DKR16 #303 was always the fastest. Yesterday already began to see the main difference between Peterhansel and the duo of pilots who came from the WRC formed by the Sainz and Loeb: the ability to make each and every one of the day to the fullest, as if a stage of the WRC rally of 100 kilometres is involved. The main advantage in favour of Carlos is the experience and a co-pilot much more fogueado on the subject of navigation as Lucas Cross, which already pulled out of other troubles to the champion of the WRC in the past. We’ll see how it evolves the race, with still many days ahead, but those 13 and a half minutes between the first and the third do not reflect the true current situation of the Dakar 2016.