Carlos Sainz’s 62st birthday in five notable cars

Carlos Sainz celebrates his 62st birthday! A look back at the most emblematic models of the Spanish champion's WRC and rally raid career.

Published on 12/04/2024 à 13:00


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Carlos Sainz’s 62st birthday in five notable cars

Happy birthday Carlos Sainz! ©DPPI

This 12 April 2024, Carlos Sainz celebrates his 62st birthday. A look back at the career of El Matador, who has two world championship titles in WRC and four victories in the Paris-Dakar (2011, 2018, 2021 and 2024), in five emblematic cars that have made its legend.

The Toyota Celica

La Toyota Celica GT-4 driven by Sainz. ©Claude Saulnier / DPPI

On board, Carlos Sainz acquired two world titles. In 1990, within the Toyota Team Europe team, the Madrilenian scored four victories in the GT-Four ST165 version and overcame the domination of Lancia, undefeated in Group A regulations since its introduction in 1987. But it was his demonstration during the Rally of 1 Lakes in Finland that Carlos Sainz bluffs the followers. He becomes the first non-Nordic to pop the champagne at the finish, maintaining a small lead over Ari Vatanen.

Two years later, thanks to the ST180 version but still associated with Luis Moya, Carlos Sainz suffered five retirements (!). However, the title is at the end with two victories at the end of the season, one of which came in front of his aficionados in Catalonia.

The Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla

With the Toyota Corolla, Sainz won the Monte-Carlo and New Zealand Rallies in 1998. ©François Baudin/DPPI

However, the Japanese manufacturer also reserved its share of disappointments for the Spaniard. The 1998 Rally Great Britain is one of the most dramatic outcomes in the WRC today. In order to be crowned, Sainz-Moya could just finish in 4th place. But 300 meters from the line, the Corolla stops, victim of an engine failure. No longer able to stand it, Luis Moya smashes the rear window while throwing his helmet, after having thrown at his partner: “Try to get it started Carlos!” Try to get it started damn it! »

The Citroën Xsara WRC

Citroën xsara

The Xsara WRC was Sainz's car from 2003 to 2005. ©François Flamand/DPPI

After a Ford interlude, Carlos Sainz will experience his last thrills in the WRC with the Chevron brand. In 2003, he supported the young Sébastien Loeb in his first full season, not without winning in Turkey (3rd overall). He will sign his 26th victory (only Sébastien Loeb, Sébastien Ogier and Marcus Grönholm have done better since) in Argentina in 2004, the same place as the finish of the 2018 Dakar…

The Volkswagen Race Touareg


Sainz will be on board a Touareg from 2005 to 2014, using phases 1, 2 and 3. ©DPPI

In 2006, Carlos Sainz took charge of the rally-raid within the official Volkswagen team. The learning curve is tough on board the diesel Touareg. In 2009, for the first edition in South America, victory was in sight when the 4×4 fell into a ravine two days from the end, causing a shoulder injury for Michel Périn and instant retirement. . With a new navigator in 2010 (Lucas Cruz), Carlos Sainz remained cautious and won the event, despite the pressure exerted by Nasser Al-Attiyah. The gap between the two men will be 2'12”.

The Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi

Peugeot 3008 DKR

It's on board the Peugeot 3008 DKR that Sainz won the Paris-Dakar in 2018. ©Frederic Le Floc'h / DPPI

The years go by and Carlos Sainz is still present on the Dakar. Present at the start of each edition of course; on arrival, it is rarer. The reckless fifty-year-old gave TV some impressive antics, but gave up five times in a row (between 2013 and 2017). So for the end of Peugeot's official commitment, Carlos Sainz adopts a less daring driving style, and it pays off. While all his colleagues were affected by mechanical breakdowns or driving errors, buggy no. 303 cruised to Cordoba without any worries and finished 43 minutes ahead of his best enemy Nasser Al-Attiyah.

ALSO READ > Yannick Willocx, Loeb engineer in the Azores: “I felt useless…”

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