Sainz confident of near-max fitness for Cyprus

Ford ace Carlos Sainz, who suffered from back problems during the Rally Argentina, believes he will be near to full fitness for this weekend's Cyprus Rally

Sainz confident of near-max fitness for Cyprus

The Spaniard finished third in Argentina despite doubts that he would even start after trapping a nerve in his back. Last week he cut short a test, but his team boss Malcolm Wilson insisted that it was a precautionary measure only.

Sainz stopped the scheduled pre-Safari test at Chateau Lastours in France after the first of three days, but has told the team he will be 95 to 98 percent fit for Cyprus. The 39-year-old began his official recce for the event on Monday.

"He pronounced himself happy with the car and rang the specialist back at base, who advised him that if he didn't need to test then he shouldn't take the risk," Wilson told Motorsport News. "It wasn't a question of him being in pain."

Despite his back problem, Sainz is tipped as one of the favourites for victory in Cyprus. The former world champion, who headed a Ford one-two on the inaugural WRC counter last year, always goes well on new or unfamiliar rallies and much of this year's route is new.

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