Sainz has always felt an affinity with Argentina and its people: maybe because it’s a Spanish-speaking country, which exhibits the same passion and commitment to the sport as the two-time world champion has always displayed himself.
What made Sainz most proud of his final Argentina win was the fact that it underlined the consistent competitiveness that was a hallmark of his career from the very start to the very end.
“I never wanted to be one of those drivers who was less and less competitive as time went on,” he explains. “I wanted to still be able to win when I stopped.”
And so it proved, because the 2004 season was Sainz’s last with the factory Citroen team - although he was called back in 2005 to substitute for the suspended Francois Duval (who, incidentally, returned for Rally Argentina, having been made to miss Turkey and Greece as his punishment for a spate of accidents).
In fact, 2001, 1999 and 1993 were Sainz’s only winless seasons when he was contesting the full World Rally Championship - and he never completed a full year without claiming a podium finish at least once.
In Argentina, Sainz is second only to Sebastien Loeb on the all-time winners’ list, thanks to three victories on the South American event (an accolade he shares with fellow world champions Miki Biasion and Tommi Makinen).
And just to prove that he wasn’t quite done with his winning record in Argentina yet, Sainz won Dakar 2010 on Argentine soil as well.
As Sebastien Loeb memorably pointed out, when Sainz beat him there in 2004, “this rally just shows why Carlos Sainz is Carlos Sainz.”