Sainz joined Volkswagen Motorsport in 2006 when it began its bid to win the Dakar Rally. But it took the Spaniard until 2010 - when the event had moved to South America - to claim victory due to assorted mechanical problems and an accident close to the finish when he was leading in 2009.
Having spearheaded the testing and development of the new Polo R WRC since the project started and by taking into account his extensive experience of the global series, Sainz expects the Polo to be instantly competitive.
“Dakar is very different, but when we started with the Touareg we actually had quite a few little problems and we needed to work hard to find a solution,” said Sainz. “I wouldn’t say that we were competitive straight away in Dakar. Here, from what I can see, it should be different. You never know, but I think that the Polo will be fast from the beginning. My feeling with all the tests was very positive.”