Carlos Sainz makes his Rally Portugal predictions

The two-time WRC champ selects the drivers and teams he thinks will do the business in Matosinhos.
By Greg Stuart and Anthony Peacock

30 years ago at Rally Portugal, a 24-year-old former Spanish squash champion and Formula Ford racer lined up for his debut World Rally Championship event. Carlos Sainz duly went out and won his first ever WRC stage, before his Ford Sierra RS Cosworth’s turbo gave up the ghost.

Three decades on and Sainz – who went on to enjoy a career that netted two WRC titles and saw him drive for the likes of Ford, Citroën, Toyota and Subaru – still remembers his Portuguese debut fondly. “You never forget your first WRC rally,” he tells “We won the first stage at Estoril, but my big regret is that the car stopped before we were able to try the proper gravel stages.”

Carlos Sainz (ESP) of Team Peugeot TOTAL at the end of the stage 3 of Rally Dakar 2017 from San Miguel de Tucuman to San Salvador de Jujuy, Argentina on January
Carlos will be Red Bull TV’s guest presenter © Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

We asked Carlos – who’ll be Red Bull TV’s guest presenter at Rally Portugal alongside Mike Chen – to make his predictions for the 2017 event, and also to tell us the factors that make Portugal so unique. “The changeable conditions and the road cleaning,” reckons Carlos. “The surface in Portugal is quite soft, so there can be some rocks on the second pass with very deep ruts. You often have to change the set-up to cope with that.”

Here are Carlos’ predictions for Rally Portugal 2017…

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