Solans (below), who was crowned Junior WRC winner in Britain earlier this month, makes his WRC debut in a Ford Fiesta R5 this week. He faces stiff competition, not least from brother Nil, the 2017 junior champion, who is driving a Volkswagen Polo R5 for the first time.
Nil’s co-driver is Marc Marti, the man who read the pace notes for Sainz when he retired from full-time WRC competition.
“It’s always nice to be back in the service park,” said Sainz. “I have good memories of this rally – especially from my first win (in Spain in 1992). As you can imagine, to win at home is always huge and there were really a lot of people following the races.
“This rally is always one of the best and it’s nice to remember those old days. But now I come to see Jan and to say hello.”
Sainz won the rally twice, once in 1992 for Toyota and three years later on his penultimate event with the Subaru team.
He remains one of Spanish motorsport’s biggest heroes, with his son Carlos Jr right up there with him as a current McLaren Formula 1 driver.