Carlos Sainz has won his third Dakar rally

Big Carlos gets congratulated by Little Carlos, while Alonso finishes 13th

Three cheers for Carlos Sainz, who’s just achieved his third victory at the Dakar rally. Nope, it’s not junior Carlos, who spent 2019 drawing impressive results out of a McLaren Formula 1 car, but senior Carlos, he of World Rally fame.

He, his co-driver Lucas Cruz and their Mini X-raid topped the final leader board by over six minutes, with another three-time winner – Nasser Al-Attiyah – in second.

“El Matador,” shouted junior Carlos on Twitter. “Three Dakars, three different manufacturers, 57 years old. A legend.”

It means Sainz has won with three different manufacturers, too, following Dakar wins with Volkswagen and Peugeot, while he’s provided Mini with their fifth overall victory, and their first since 2015.

“I am very, very happy,” said senior Carlos. “So much hard work, physical training and test work with the team has gone into getting this result. The race was fantastic for us drivers, but you had to work very hard, right from day one. It is hard to imagine, but it was a full-throttle rally from the word go. Right now, I just want to enjoy the success.”

And what of Fernando Alonso, having his first crack at Dakar in the latest chapter of his post-F1 career? His drive in the Toyota Hilux wasn’t without drama (or accidents) but he finished the event, and in a respectable 13th place given the lengthy repairs his car needed.


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