Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz

Spain (E)




1980: Started rallying with Renault 5 TS

1981: SEAT Panda Rally Champion

1985: 2nd in Spanish Championship with Renault

1986: 2nd in Spanish Championship with Renault

1987: Joined Ford, his WRC debut in Portugal, Spanish Champion

1988: Five WRC events with Ford, 5th in Corsica and Italy, Spanish Champion

1989: Joined Toyota, 2nd in RAC, 8th WRC for Drivers

1990: 1st WRC win in Acropolis with Toyota, three other WRC event wins, Asia-Pacifc Champion, World Champion

1991: Winner of five WRC events with Toyota, 2nd WRC for Drivers

1992: Winner of four WRC events with Toyota, World Champion

1993: Move to Lancia, 2nd in Greece, 8th WRC for Drivers

1994: Move to Subaru, Win in Acropolis, 2nd WRC for Drivers

1995: Winner of three WRC events with Subaru, 2nd WRC for Drivers

1996: Move to Ford, Win in Indonesia, 3rd WRC for Drivers

1997: Wins in Acropolis and Indonesia with Ford, 3rd WRC for Drivers

1998: Back to Toyota, Wins in Monte Carlo and New Zealand, 2nd WRC for Drivers

1999: Drives with Toyota, 5th WRC for Drivers

2000: Back to Ford, Win in Cyprus, 3rd WRC for Drivers

2001: Drives with Ford, 6th WRC for Drivers

2002: Drives with Ford, Win in Argentina, 3rd WRC for Drivers

2003: Move to Citroen, Win in Turkey, 3rd WRC for Drivers

2004: Drives with Citroen, Win in Argentina, 4th WRC for Drivers

Date of Birth:
12/4/1962 at Madrid

Marital status:
Married, two children


World Drivers' Champion:
1990, 1992

Entries of WRC Events





There are few drivers as dedicated, experienced and successful in world rallying as Carlos Sainz.
Nowadays he is Spain´s leading sporting hero. Despite being sent to law school, the writing on the wall that young Carlos would more than likely make his mark as a sportsman. A junior and senior Spanish squash champion, he could have made a comfortable living as a footballer, or developed his fencing or skiing talents. Instead, motor sport captured his imagination even during his schooldays. 

He got first international recognition driving Group B Renault in southern European events. His speed in the little Renault had marked him out as a definite catch to be landed, and there was always the cynical view that Ford might have wanted to establish a better presence in an under-serviced car market. Sainz joined Ford in 1987, finally winning the Spanish championship. That same year he stepped onto the international stage on the Rally Portugal. He led his first World Championship event after the first stage, only to retire later with turbo failure.

In 1988 he retained the Spanish crown with five wins, contesting five World Championship rallies where he never finished outside the top seven. But Ford had no four-wheel-drive car available and when Ove Andersson made an offer to join Toyota, he could not refuse.

He was denied 1989 RAC Rally victory on the final morning after a frustrating season, but in 1990 he won the Acropolis Rally - his first WRC victory. More wins followed - first New Zealand, then the RAC. A second in Australia helped him secure the World Championship, clinching the Asia-Pacific title on the way - an unexpected bonus, as he was not officially contesting the series.

Juha Kankkunen stole the title at the last gasp in 1991, but Sainz regained it in 1992. In his four-year spell with Toyota from 1989 to 1992, Sainz and co-driver Luis Moya claimed 13 World Championship wins and two World titles. Moving to Lancia for 93 was somewhat inexplicably , because the factory was pulled out and left the operation to the Jolly Club. Sainz never looked like winning a rally that year, and was soon on the move again - this time to Subaru - where he was twice championship runner-up. His relationship with David Richards was the subject of much speculation and few were surprised when the Spaniard returned to Toyota for 1996.

The team's exclusion threatened to leave Sainz watching from the sidelines, but his strong relationship with Ford ensured he kept the wheels of his career moving. His impact was immediate, and the oft-frustrated team bagged a second in Sweden and a win in Indonesia. Another year in Ford for 1997 saw him challenge closely for the title. In both seasons he placed third in the World Championship. Sainz's raw speed and phenominal talent for turning an also-ran into a rally winner should see him back to the front of the field by season's end.

Return to Toyota in 1998 was "like returning to own family". He won two events and almost the Driver´s title. He was driving third on the last event which was enough him secure the World Championship. On the last stage 500 metres before the finish line, Toyota´s engine blew and he was out of rally. In 1999 Sainz was securing the Manufacturers title for the Toyota team and it was a big disappointment when Toyota decided to withdraw from the World Rally Championship at the end of the season.

For the season 2000 Sainz returned to Ford and he teamed up with his former team-mate Colin McRae. He achieved his 23rd WRC win in Cyprus and in Argentina 2002 he got his 24th WRC win after two Peugeots were excluded. Now he shared again the status of the world's most successful rally driver with Tommi Makinen. He placed third in the World Championship. 

At the end of 2002 Ford decided that it would not renew his conctract and he left the team after three years and moved to Citroen. Negotiations between the two sides had been proceeding for months, but the process got complicated when Citroen had already decided to contest the series with the two car team. With the help of Sainz´s sponsors, the team had a three-car line-up during the whole season. Citroën contested, for the first time, the full WRC program in 2003 and Sainz drove together with Colin McRae and Sebastien Loeb. His long time codriver Luis Moya announced his retirement from the sport: his place was took by Marc Marti. Already in his third event in the team in Turkey he took his 25th World Championship rally win and he shared the lead in the all-time WRC winners list with Colin McRae. He placed third in the World Championship. 

In 2004 he continued with Citroen and in Argentina he scored a record-breaking 26th WRC victory, which takes him ahead of McRae and now he is the most successful driver in world rallying. The 42-year-old Spaniard decided that he would prefer to spend more time with his family and has therefore turned down an offer to remain with Citroen and he retired from the sport at the end of the season 2004

With the retirement of Carlos Sainz an era of rallying is now really over. The drivers that made the group A and the World Rally Car popular is now completely gone. He is the last of great drivers which we all adrimed. Didier Auriol, Juha Kankkunen, Tommi Makinen, Colin McRae, Richard Burns and now Carlos Sainz. He is definately one the greatest rally drivers ever and will be remembered by the fans. 

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