Madrid enthusiastically greets "Dakar" winner Sainz
Wolfsburg (22 January 2010). An emotional and triumphant homecoming: His native city, Madrid, received Carlos Sainz with rounds of cheers after his "Dakar" victory. Together with his Spanish compatriot Lucas Cruz the 47-year-old had been leading a Volkswagen trio to a one-two-three win from 2 to 16 January at the toughest test in worldwide motorsport.
It was a perfect surprise: Sainz discovered a Race Touareg 2 practically in the front yard of his home. The idea came from sponsor Red Bull. The Spanish national hero did not have to be asked twice and started a march of triumph through the streets of Madrid, escorted by a police squad. The response among the local population was overwhelming. Thousands of fans and hundreds of journalists greeted "El Matador" with rounds of cheers.
The drive ended at the Plaza Mayor, which had been cordoned off specifically for Sainz's arrival. Besides the fans, Madrid's mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon welcomed Carlos Sainz as well as the 220-kW Race Touareg 2 on a recreated podium. Afterwards, the "Dakar" winner invited Ruiz Gallardon to a taxi ride through Madrid in the cross-country rally prototype.
"'Dakar' winner - that simply sounds fantastic. This exploit means incredibly much to me and has made a long-harboured dream come true for me," said Sainz, who is the first Spaniard in the history of the Dakar Rally to have clinched overall victory in the automobile classification. "Experiencing such an emotional homecoming is like icing on the cake and a special reward. I'd like to say thank you for the tremendous support before, during and after the 'Dakar.'"
Sainz won the 2010 Dakar Rally in the Race Touareg 2 ahead of his Volkswagen team- mates Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) and Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA). Thanks to TDI Power Volkswagen successfully defended the title after its 2009 triumph at the legendary desert classic and is thus the only manufacturer so far to have decided the automobile classification of the "Dakar" in its favour with diesel technology.