Carlos Sainz says his second Dakar rally victory could mark a successful end to his racing career as he assesses his options with Peugeot preparing to leave the event.

In one of the highest rate of attritions seen at recent Dakar rally events, Sainz avoided any potential terminal trouble to remain in the hunt over the opening stages before igniting his charge at the midpoint with back-to-back stage victories to take the overall lead at the end of stage 7.

Sainz never relinquished his general classification Dakar lead, despite a 10-minute time penalty for a clash with a quad bike rider which was later rescinded, to navigate the final stages in Argentina and clinch victory by 43m40s from Toyota’s Nasser Al-Attiyah. Sainz’s second career Dakar rally victory, following up his 2010 triumph with Volkswagen, came as his toughest win and at the age of 55 he’s considering retiring at the top.

“I don’t know if I’ll be back next year,” Sainz said. “Now I have to enjoy this victory, go back home, speak with my wife, with my family and then we will see. Also, Peugeot won't be here next year so we will see.

“I’m so, so happy, after four years when we joined forces with Peugeot to make a dual-drive winning car. We managed to do it. They’ve already won two times, but I think I deserved this victory because we have put lot of effort into this car. I had ups and downs, but I always tried my best. Especially this rally, it has been so, so hard.

“At the beginning I said we'll take it a little bit easier, but Peugeot said we'd have to go flat out. I raced a couple of days and pushed really hard, but then the race was a case of not making mistakes.”

Sainz, father of Renault F1 driver Carlos Sainz Jr, is eager to spend more time with his family and support his son’s career and will weigh up his options before making an official decision on his own future.

 

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