Friday | 28 Mar 2014

Sainz leaves VW after Dakar deal

Double world champion Carlos Sainz will play no role in the development of Volkswagen’s 2015 Polo R World Rally Car following his decision to join Peugeot for next year’s Dakar Rally.

Volkswagen Motorsport boss Jost Capito said the 51-year-old Spaniard would leave his role with the German squad very soon.

Sainz (pictured left, with Capito), world champion with Toyota in 1990 and 1992, has been part of Volkswagen’s WRC programme since the beginning. He was the first person to drive the Polo R WRC in late 2011 and was at the wheel for its maiden gravel test in Spain early in 2012.

He has since held an ambassadorial role with Volkswagen and was a regular face in the WRC service park last season.

“We had a contract with him. The contract ends very soon and so it will not be extended, because he wants to have an active driving role still,” Capito told

Capito would not be drawn on when Sainz’s contact ends but confirmed it would be before he starts testing Peugeot’s new 2008 DKR car, and added that Sainz would not be involved with work on the updated Polo R.

Sainz, who won the Dakar Rally with Volkswagen in 2010, will be lead driver in the new Peugeot set-up.

“Given how much I love the Dakar, it was too good a proposal to resist when Peugeot asked me to be part of its line-up for its comeback to this unique adventure,” he said.

Speculation that Sébastien Loeb could form part of the Peugeot squad after visiting this year’s Dakar Rally seems wide of the mark. Cyril Despres, five-time winner of Dakar’s bike section, was named as Sainz’s team-mate.