09/28/2021 at 9:24 PM CEST
Carlos Sainz, three months before the start of the Dakar, has made its first public appearance this afternoon in Madrid after his brand new signing for Audi. The 59-year-old from Madrid, who has already won the legendary event three times, faces a new challenge in his long sports career. I do not know if it is the most difficult yet, but little could I imagine not many years ago that this opportunity would come to the controls of a car powered by an electric motor.
Accompanied by Lucas Cruz, who will continue to be by his side for another year, Carlos has spoken at length about his experience with the Audi RS Q e-tron, with a car made to compete in the Dakar and about the renewed challenge with an innovative project. José Miguel Aparicio, president of Audi Spain, has welcomed them and has shown the enormous enthusiasm that the German brand has put into the effort.
Sainz has arrived on stage driving the RS Q e-tron, a spectacular entry into the scene that has opened the round of questions.
What did you think when Audi asked you to sign?
That they were a little crazy … It is a very ambitious challenge in a race of twelve days, many kilometers, difficult and that will put us all to the limit. It is a very interesting challenge for a driver and I am proud of it.
How do you feel being part of the history of this brand?
If there is a brand in this sector with a tradition in competition, it has been Audi. In many areas, rallies, Le Mans, formula E & mldr; very proud. Talking about doing something special and it is challenging when you are a veteran. Very committed, motivated and a great responsibility.
What is the main difference that you have found with respect to heat engines?
The first is that he runs a lot. As you accelerate, you don’t have to worry about gears or clutch, just accelerate. We have four wheel drive, with one engine in front and one behind. There is a virtual differential and working with this new technology is a great challenge for everyone. Work on the set-up, the engine brake & mldr; The power is immediate. Passing dunes is difficult and you do not have to worry about the gears, which usually causes you a lot of stress. In addition, the batteries make the center of gravity very low.
They have done tests in Germany, Spain, Morocco & mldr; Will it arrive in time?
We are three pilots and the time is shared between all of the performance test and the endurance test. It is a new project and the first year is very complicated, you always lack time. Also, the car is very challenging with technology that has never participated in this test. I’m not worried about the direct confrontation with our opponents, since we only do one race, in Ha’il, but the important thing is to arrive with a reliable car that we feel comfortable with. At the end of October we are scheduled to return to Morocco.
What result would you conform a priori?
At my age I need a seductive project to put all my energy and motivation. Now our aspirations are to try to win the Dakar with this car. We are very ambitious. Anyway, in three months we have to lower the objective. Once you have won a competition, the goal must always be to win.
Is victory feasible?
If the Dakar itinerary is slower we will be more competitive, but the feeling we have is that it is the most competitive car we have driven in the dunes. It will defend well on all terrains and if we achieve high reliability we will be able to opt for everything. Now we don’t think about anything other than being able to win.
How to convince fans of electric cars that they are also exciting?
You have to give time to time and combustion engines cannot be demonized. The future is sustainability and you have to be patient and give manufacturers more time to make the transition. I have had the feeling is that brands have been pushed to the limit too much. We must never forget everything that the motor world has given us.
Has a path been opened with this Audi proposal?
I want to trust and think that this is the way it will be. Audi was the first, the bravest, and I am convinced that other brands will come to compete in this new category. I hope that when it comes to regulating power there is equality and we are competitive, rewarding the risk that the brand has taken.
What would you highlight about the car?
A lot of work has been done on aerodynamics, with attention to detail and looking for a balance with visibility. It is an exciting challenge at a technological level due to the amount of parameters that you can change. It is complex, difficult, exciting because it is a new subject that I am trying to adapt to.