Carlos Sainz in the VW Touareg Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Photofiles

If you don’t want the dust to get in your eyes on the Dakar Rally, the best place to be is out in front. As reigning champion in the car class and unbeaten in over a year, Carlos Sainz is a safe bet to be at the business end of the race from the get-go. We invite you to squeeze in between Carlos and his co-driver Lucas Cruz and enjoy the 2011 Dakar Rally from El Matador’s perspective…

Day 1 – Buenos Aires to Victoria (377km)

“Firstly I have to say it feels great to be back in Argentina. It is a country I know well from my time with the World Rally Championship. This country has given me many great memories, especially last year’s Dakar win. I always knew the Dakar would be a success in South America and I’m glad it had come back again.

“Last year it was a very tight race with my team-mate Nassar Al-Attiyah only a few minutes away. Even though I won last year those extra minutes I had count for nothing now, we all start again from the same point.”

“With Lucas Cruz we make a good team. In fact we have won all the races we have entered together. This means I can’t wait to start this latest Dakar because I want to defend my title.

“I know the competition will be fierce but that’s normal and is to be expected. As for me, as always, I’ll only be thinking about how I’m going to race and how to do my job the best I can. As usual, I’ll be racing at my own pace and in my own special way.

“This year the strategy will be the same as the last, the one I have always used. We want to maintain as strong a position as possible. I do not know if there will be any team orders but I can help myself by making sure that I’m in the lead at all times.

“Hitting the front does not mean racing like a madman, I have many years experience in the World Rally Championship to know this. I have learnt many lessons about racing in the desert as well during my time on the Dakar. The challenges are different each day and each individual stage deserves the same amount of respect and caution.”



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