Spanish rally driver, Carlos Sainz, has received the Princess of Asturias Award for Sports 2020 this Friday at a small and atypical ceremony. The intimate event took place at the Hotel de la Reconquista in Oviedo and with no public present due to the threat of COVID-19.
For the first time in the forty-year history of this prestigious awards, the epidemiological situation in Spain has prevented the ceremony from taking place at its usual venue, the Campoamor Theatre.
As tradition dictates, the three-times Dakar winner (2010, 2018, 2020) & twice WRC Champion (1990, 1992), has received the award from the hands of Leonor Princess of Asturias, who was accompanied by her sister, Princess Sofía, their parents, King Felipe VI and Queen Leticia, and their grandmother, Emeritus Queen Sofía.
In a heartfelt speech, Carlos Sainz has started by thanking the Royal Family and praising its fundamental role in supporting and promoting Spanish sport abroad:
“I would like to thank the entire Royal Family for the unconditional support and affection that for so many years has shown towards sport in general and towards Spanish athletes in particular”.
“Also, for its role promoting positive sporting values, resulting in our flag being flown on top of many podiums around the world. The Royal Family has been and continues to be our best ambassador”.
After applauding the role of the monarchy, Sainz highlighted the important role that his fans have played in his career and in his successes:
“Thanks to all the fans for their passion and tireless encouragement. In this difficult year, I would like to dedicate this award to all Spaniards and to share with them my feelings of joy and gratitude”.
“My career has not been exempted of difficulties, which I have always been able to overcome with the help and warmth of the fans. And it is thanks to them that I stand here today collecting this award”.
A recognition long overdue, there is nobody more deserving of it than the best Spanish rally driver of all times and one of the greatest names in the history of the speciality.
Not surprisingly, the veteran racer also enjoys great international fame and not only because of all his victories but also, thanks to his ethics and integrity demonstrated throughout his long career as a rally driver. The prestigious award thus returns to Spain after being awarded to foreign stars for the last three years.
Images of Carlos Sainz: Casa Real.