Carlos Sainz's Dakar hopes boosted by 'crucial' extended testing
|By David Evans||Friday, December 27th 2013, 11:34 GMT|
Carlos Sainz's chances of 2014 Dakar Rally success next month have been boosted by the decision to fly his Buggy to the event so he can test more.
The Red Bull SMG team decided not to send Sainz's race buggy on the boat bound for Argentina earlier in December, electing instead to fly it out to South America.
That decision gave the two-time World Rally champion more time to finalise his settings and become accustomed to what will be his third new car in as many Dakars.
Team manager Philippe Gache said: "We have had more time to work on the car because we've been able to put Carlos' Buggy on a plane from Paris to Buenos Aires.
"Very few cars get to fly to the race. It has benefited us because it gave us another four or five weeks with the car and that time is crucial."
Sainz feels confident ahead of the Rosario start to an event where he chases his second win.
The Spaniard took an early lead during last year's event, but was hit by technical issues and then forced to retire with engine gremlins.
"It felt great to get back in the Buggy and finding everything working perfectly filled me with confidence," said Sainz.
"We have to remember that this car that Philippe has built is completely new, so to have it responding exactly as we want makes me very happy.
"It's also been great to have Philippe as team manager because he has actually driven the Dakar and has fantastic technical knowledge.
"From a driver's point of view this makes it easy to bounce around ideas for possible adjustments that can help us during the race."