Carlos Sainz: “We want to win with Audi the Dakar this year”

Carlos Sainz together with co-pilot Lucas Cruz and Audi Spain’s representatives, have met before the press in Madrid to reveal their new project for the 2022 edition of the Dakar Rally. The teammates have spoken about their initial sensations at the wheel of the new RS Q e-tron, their machine for the next edition of the famous raid.  

The Spaniard duo have arrived at the event following their first fifteen-day-long round of tests in the Moroccan desert, where they have faced conditions similar to those they will find in Saudi Arabia when the Dakar starts on January the 1st. 

The trials are part of the very development process and fine-tuning of the RS Q e-tron, which is equipped with an electric powertrain and is set to serve as a reference for future machines in the competition. 

To be crowned again

As expected, the three-time Dakar champion has one clear objective, to be crowned again. A very ambitious Carlos Sainz is after his fourth Tuareg trophy with his fourth different manufacturer, something quite unusual in rally racing. 

“For our part, we aspire to try and win the Dakar in our first year with this car. Are we a little crazy? Perhaps, but we are ambitious and that has to be our goal. Maybe in three months’ time, things change and we have to back down, but the goal of just finishing doesn’t do anything for me after all these years”. 

Despite his determination, however, the two-time world rally champion has a Herculean challenge ahead of him, particularly considering the technical complexity and newness of the RS Q e-tron. But these kinds of challenges are precisely what gets the juices flowing for this young 59-year-old man.

Carlos Sainz, fascinated with car technology

With his notorious ability to help develop rally cars throughout his long racing career, Carlos Sainz has found driving the Audi RS Q e-tron fascinating:

“To be the first to do something is always attractive, especially if you are a veteran like me. We are very committed, super motivated, but at the same time a little worried about the responsibility inherent to this project”.

“The first thing that you notice when you get into this car is that, as soon as you accelerate, it goes; you don’t have to release the clutch, engage the gear and change at the precise revs as I had to do in all rally cars up to now. Here you accelerate and shoot forward“. 

Fascinated by all the new functions of the Audi SUV, ‘El Matador’ has talked about some of its technical aspects as well as the ease with which it drives in the desert:

“I had never worked with the engine brake before and, in this car, it is super effective, it is spectacular. As for the torque, the power is immediate. Tackling the dunes is much easier, you don’t think about the gears, you don’t take your hands off the wheel, you just think about which way you are going to pass, concentrated, without having to worry about which gear you should engage and whether or not it will give you enough power to go up … “. 

Concerned about the car doing well

On the other hand, he has assured he has other more pressing issues to be worried about than not competing with his Dakar rivals before this raid:

“I am relatively concerned. I am concerned about the car doing well, not breaking, because more or less you know how the other cars are, although this year there are new models, modified but with the same weight, new suspension, tyres, we will see how much power each one has … but we already have the experience and enough greys to know if a car is fast or not, and I already know that” – he concluded-. 

Images of Carlos Sainz: Audi Spain Media Center.

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