Sainz to Compete in Dakar with VW

Double World Rally Champion Carlo Sainz announced he will compete in the Dakar Rally with Volkswagen Motorsport

Sainz to Compete in Dakar with VW

This will be the first cross country rally event for Sainz, who made a return to WRC last month with Citroen, where he replaced Francois Duval in the Rally of Turkey and in the upcoming Rally of Greece.

Sainz announced his retirement from WRC last year, after winning 26 WRC events during his career. The Spaniard said he was not prepared anymore to commit to all 16 rounds of the series. But in a statement today, Sainz said he expected the Dakar Rally to be less demanding than a full WRC season.

"I always said that the challenge of a 'Dakar' would be of interest to me," Sainz stated. "Since a 'Dakar' demands much less time than a WRC season and gives me the opportunity to stay in motorsport.

"Put simply: it's perfect. Cross Country Rallies have the same spirit as, for example, the old Safari Rally. The navigation, getting to know the dunes and experiencing the 'Dakar' flair first hand will be something special."

Sainz's co-driver at the Dakar event will be Andy Schulz .

Conducted and provided by Volkswagen Motorsport

Q: You start a new career at Volkswagen as the most successful driver with the most wins in the classic World Rally Championship. You had several options - why did you choose Volkswagen?

Sainz: "Volkswagen is heavily involved in Cross Country Rallying, which is exactly what I was looking for, because if you decide to do something you should aim for the best possible opportunity. The Volkswagen project is very good. I'm happy to work with the team and would like to thank Volkswagen for giving me the chance to break into Cross Country Rallying."

Q: You finished your career in classic rallying at the end of 2004. Did you already have the desire for a fresh start at this time?

Sainz: "I always said that the challenge of a 'Dakar' would be of interest to me. Since a 'Dakar' demands much less time than a WRC season and gives me the opportunity to stay in motorsport. Put simply: it's perfect. Cross Country Rallies have the same spirit as, for example, the old Safari Rally. The navigation, getting to know the dunes and experiencing the 'Dakar' flair first hand will be something special."

Q: Have you also tested other Cross Country Rally vehicles?

Sainz: "No, I've only driven the Volkswagen Race-Touareg."

Q: How will you now prepare yourself for the new job as Volkswagen works driver?

Sainz: "I'm ready to learn. In Andy Schulz I have a very experienced co-driver, who will help me. I'm looking forward to the learning process and will approach it professionally."

Q: Why did you choose the German Andy Schulz as co-driver?

Sainz: "I've known Andy since my Toyota days. He has a lot of experience at the 'Dakar', he has already won twice and he speaks German. He will be of great assistance."

Q: Do you feel at home in a German team?

Sainz: "I've only just started, but the atmosphere at Volkswagen is very good. Everybody is motivated and determined to work very hard. I have a good relationship with Kris Nissen. I hope that I can help the team, this is the most important thing."

Q: How does the Race-Touareg feel in comparison to a World Rally Car?

Sainz: "You can't compare an off-road vehicle with a World Rally Car. They are two completely different cars as far as engine performance and suspension is concerned."

Q: Have you already found something which you want to change on the Race-Touareg?

Sainz: "It's still much too early, I need a really long test for this."

Q: You won the Safari Rally in Kenya in 1992. Will the African experience be of help today?

Sainz: "I really think that it will help me. During my short test I saw that several tracks in Cross Country Rallying are similar to the Safari stages. However, there are no sand dunes or camel grass in Kenya; I still have to learn this."

Q: And the navigation?

Sainz: "Of course, I have no experience of Cross Country Rally navigation. I'll be relying on Andy Schulz here."

Q: How many people from the Volkswagen works team do you know from old rally days?

Sainz: "I'd never met Kris Nissen before. I know Bruno Saby from the WRC. His co-driver Michel Perin was my team manager at Citroen some time ago. Eddy Weidl and Gerard Zyzik I know from Toyota. I know the logistics expert Paco Crous from the Spanish Championship, where I started my career."

Q: You are World Rally Championship's most successful driver. How do you motivate yourself for something completely different after such a long career?

Sainz: "This is a completely new challenge, and new tasks are always motivational. You have to channel your efforts in a new direction, work with new people in a new technical environment. This alone is huge motivation for me."

Q: What is the target for your first event at the Pharaons Rally?

Sainz: "During the first event I'll try to learn the car, the methods demanded by such a rally and the navigation. I'm looking forward to the event and think that I'll get a good feeling for the car and the rallies there."

Q: In January you will experience your first Dakar Rally. 16 days through Africa, sleeping in tent, sometimes without a shower...can you live without luxury?

Sainz: "I'll only be qualified to answer this question after the rally. It will be something completely new; I'll also have to learn this. I'm convinced that I'll like it one way or the other."

Q: And the goal for the first Dakar Rally at the beginning of 2006?

Sainz: "I want to reach the finish and learn."

Q: How long will you need to win the 'Dakar'?

Sainz: "I don't know. Quite honestly, I don't think that a win is my goal in the first year. We want to be relatively competitive, see how we compare and get to the 'Dakar' subtleties."

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