Double WRC champion Sainz set to race inaugural Extreme E season

Two-time World Rally champion Carlos Sainz Sr is expected to race in the inaugural season of the Extreme E all-electric SUV off-road racing championship, Autosport understands

Double WRC champion Sainz set to race inaugural Extreme E season

In addition to his 2010 and 2018 successes, the 58-year-old completed his hat-trick of Dakar Rally victories earlier this year by winning aboard an X-raid Mini Buggy.

During the January event in Saudi Arabia, Sainz met with long-time friend, fellow Spaniard and XE founder Alejandro Agag and had a first look at the ODYSSEY 21 E-SUV.

The car had been on-site prior to contesting the final stage of the 2020 Dakar, for which it was given an invitational entry and driven by ex-World Rallycross racer Ken Block.

It is thought Sainz then tested the 550bhp car in the official XE shakedown at the Chateau de Lastours in southern France last month as part of private line up of "major-profile drivers".

Subsequently, however, Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas and nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb were both revealed as having also taken part in the running.

Autosport understands that Sainz will go ahead and sign for an XE team.

Sainz told Autosport: "[XE] is a new championship in my specialty: the cross-country rally raids.

"It's interesting because it introduces the whole electric theme.

"I'm still not very clear about the racing format and so on, but I'm looking at it.

"We are analysing everything, but the Dakar will remain the number one priority."

As part of the mandated male-female driver pairing in XE, Sainz could partner with Laia Sanz - a 10-time motorbike finalist of the Dakar Rally.

Although Sanz has traditionally competed on two wheels, she has made fleeting appearances in the SEAT Eurocup, in the TCR class of the 24H Series and in RX Lites.

Sainz told MARCA Sport Weekend: "The Extreme E car is electric, but it has almost 600hp, it is a powerful car.

"In that sense the races last a little less and I have to understand a little better the format of them.

"But Alejandro is a good friend and I am looking at [XE], I do not rule it out".

"[The championship] looks good, it's from the world I'm in right now, close to the raids, and I think we have to start understanding the electric issue. It's one more step.

"It would be another challenge in my career and why not, I'm looking at it, of course I'm looking at it".

shares
comments
How an overlooked talent has finally earned his dues in Formula E

Previous article

How an overlooked talent has finally earned his dues in Formula E

Next article

Sette Camara to remain in FE with Dragon for 2020-21 season

Sette Camara to remain in FE with Dragon for 2020-21 season
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula E
Author Matt Kew
How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome Plus

How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome

Another Formula E double-header, another double dose of frantic action. While the form guide remains unpredictable following fightback wins for Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne in Rome, the speed and consistency of Mercedes – both on and off the track – could have its rivals worried for what is to follow

Formula E
Apr 12, 2021
What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future Plus

What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future

Formula E's Gen3 era grid continues to take shape, after Nissan opted to commit to the series for another four years. Nissan's global chief operating officer explains why it has thrown its lot in with FE while other high-profile marques have decided to call it quits

Formula E
Mar 24, 2021
Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start Plus

Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start

With the new Formula E season belatedly getting underway in Saudi Arabia, the championship appeared to try to make up for lost time with an overspill of action and controversy on and off the track. While some talking points could have serious repercussions, it was an explosive opener for many reasons

Formula E
Mar 1, 2021
How Andretti is planning for life after BMW Plus

How Andretti is planning for life after BMW

Michael Andretti's team is a Formula E ever-present and that's not about to change despite BMW's forthcoming exit. But, with both its drivers contracted to the German giant and McLaren weighing up a possible entry, some key decisions lie ahead

Formula E
Feb 26, 2021
The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021 Plus

The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021

The delayed 2020-21 Formula E season gets underway this week with a double-header in Saudi Arabia. The testing times were too close to call a favourite, but that's not the only area of interest to follow as the championship enters a crucial year

Formula E
Feb 25, 2021
Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test Plus

Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test

As off-track politics threatens to overshadow events on it, the upcoming Formula E season is perhaps its most important since the championship's inception. And that's a shame, given that the focus should be on what promises to be its closest title fight yet

Formula E
Feb 24, 2021
How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album Plus

How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album

DS Techeetah remains FE's benchmark outfit, but it can expect a stiff challenge this year from two German automotive giants in their second seasons as full manufacturer entries. Here's how Mercedes and Porsche are doubling down to bridge the gap

Formula E
Feb 17, 2021
The magnificent seven Brits fighting for FE bragging rights Plus

The magnificent seven Brits fighting for FE bragging rights

A record seven British drivers will contest Formula E this season, including two squads with all-British lineups. But before they can consider challenging DS Techeetah for the crown, each must lead their teams' recovery to the top

Formula E
Feb 15, 2021