The Spaniard saw his Audi roll upside down before landing on its roof six kilometres into Stage 9 of the rally.

It did look like Sainz was forced to withdraw from the event before he sensationally ordered the helicopter to return to the scene.

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He and co-driver Lucas Cruz were unable to take part in the rest of the rally due to the car being too damaged.

"On my return to Madrid from the Dakar Rally, the back pain I suffered after the incident of this year’s event persisted longer than usual,” Sainz wrote on social media. “Following medical advice, I underwent further checks to assess in detail the extent of the injury.

"Unfortunately, the results haven’t brought good news because I fractured the T5 and T6 vertebrae. The good thing is that boh vertebrae are stable and from this day on my priority will be to recover as soon as possible. Thank you all for the love and support I have received over the last days. I will keep you updated.”

It had been an up and down rally for Sainz up until that point.

They won Stage 1 before suffering a mechanical failure in the third stage.

An incident in Stage 6 saw his tyre get ripped off, while he lost the Stage 8 win due to a speeding offence.

Sainz Jr - who will compete in his third year with Ferrari in March when the new F1 2023 season gets underway - wrote on Twitter: “Cheer up dad, you’ll be fighting in no time.”