Sainz in talks with Toyota, X-raid for Dakar 2019

Carlos Sainz Sr is in talks with both the Toyota and X-raid Mini teams about a return to the Dakar in 2019 following Peugeot's withdrawal from cross-country rallying.

Sainz, 56, secured his second Dakar triumph in January on what was Peugeot's swan song outing in the South American event, beating Toyota's Nasser Al-Attiyah by 43 minutes.

The two-time World Rally champion has been weighing up his future options since, with moves to both the Toyota Gazoo Racing outfit and the X-raid Mini team a possibility for the 2019 Dakar.

Sainz tested both the Toyota Hilux 4x4 and the Mini John Cooper Works Buggy in Morocco in spring.

Both teams are said to have been impressed with Sainz's performance, with a decision on whether to join one or the other - or retire from competition altogether - entirely down the Spaniard himself.

A Toyota spokesperson told "Sainz was testing the Hilux in Morocco and the test was really positive. We keep talking and negotiating with him every week and we are waiting for a decision."

Al-Attiyah and Toyota teammates Giniel de Villiers and Bernhard ten Brinke scored six stage wins in the 2018 Dakar, only one fewer than Peugeot's four-car squad.

Mini on the other hand struggled with its trio of brand new JCW Buggies, with Mikko Hirvonen, Bryce Menzies and Yazeed Al-Rajhi all hitting trouble.

X-raid boss Sven Quandt declined to comment when contacted by about the prospect of Sainz joining the team.

The next major event on the cross-country rally calendar is July's Silk Way Rally, where X-raid will be represented by Nani Roma - making his return to competition after sustaining head injuries in the Dakar - and Al-Rajhi.

Al-Attiyah spearheads the Overdrive Toyota team's charge, joined by Polish driver Aron Domzala.

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Carlos Sainz
Teams Toyota Racing , X-Raid Team
Article type Breaking news