Two-time World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz has today announced he will partner Laia Sanz in the inaugural season of Extreme E forming the ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team, with ACCIONA and QEV Technologies.
Sainz is best known for his success in the FIA World Rally Championship, where he won the 1990 and 1992 championship and was winner of 26 rallies. Recently, Sainz has tackled the Dakar Rally, the world-famous endurance event, and won it three times in 2010, 2018 and this year.
“This is undoubtedly a new kind of competition in the world of motorsport and not only because of the type of car, which is 100% electric and off-road, but because of the format. To compete in a championship where there is gender equality, where both drivers are equally important and where both are going to win and lose together seems very original and inclusive,” said Sainz.
“For a veteran like me, this is one of the last things I am yet to try out: I would have left behind some unexplored territory!”
While this is thirteen-time World Trial Champion Sanz’s first campaign in four-wheeled motorsport, she is esteemed with off-road racing, with her five Enduro World Championships and ten Dakar Rally category wins, on two wheels, under her belt.
“I am very grateful for the faith Carlos, QEV Tech and ACCIONA have shown in me. I’m tremendously motivated and excited as this is an important step for me; I’ve always had an interest in sports cars and I’m sure I’m going to learn greatly alongside Carlos,” she said.
“I’m a huge admirer of his and to form a team with him is like a gift; he’s the best teammate I could ask for. I hope to live up to expectations and to learn quickly to help the team out as soon as possible.
“The championship format is new in itself and it’s very interesting to see teams made up of men and women. It also includes a concept of sustainability: we have to start thinking about this. I think racing will steer increasingly in this direction.”
Sainz added: “With Laia as my teammate, I think that we have all the right ingredients for a Spanish team to be fighting at the very top. That will be our target.”
ACCIONA has competed in off-road motorsport in the past, previously becoming the first team to contest the Dakar Rally with a fully electric vehicle in 2017. QEV Technologies is renowned for its work in pioneering technology in motorsport, having supported title-winning teams in Formula E and supporting the FIA RX2e Championship.
The team has become the ninth entry to sign up to contest in the 2021 season, along with other big names such as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg managing their respective teams. Sainz is due to not only take to the driving seat, but take up a managerial role in the ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team; his son, Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz Jr. is the fourth partner in the venture.