Sainz and Cruz: a strong unit in the Volkswagen cockpit Wolfsburg (17 January 2010). Two "Dakar" winners like chalk and cheese: The Volkswagen factory duo of Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz complement one another inside and outside the cockpit to...
Sainz and Cruz: a strong unit in the Volkswagen cockpit
Wolfsburg (17 January 2010). Two "Dakar" winners like chalk and cheese: The Volkswagen factory duo of Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz complement one another inside and outside the cockpit to form a strong, heterogeneous unit. The two Spaniards -- the driver emotional and spirited, the co-driver calm and meticulous -- took the trophy to their homeland for the first time in Dakar Rally history. Together with their team mates Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk and Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford they secured a one-two-three for Volkswagen in the greatest challenge worldwide in rallying. In Argentina and Chile the Wolfsburg based brand therefore successfully defended its title after the Race Touareg became the first diesel powered automobile to win the desert classic in 2009.
For Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz a long harboured dream was fulfilled following their "Dakar" triumph. In front of enthusiastic spectators the two Spaniards were the stars for millions of fans along the rally route. "El Matador", as Carlos Sainz is known by his fans, celebrated winning the world rally championship title in 1990 and 1992. With 26 individual rally wins and two world championships the 47-year old looks upon an extraordinarily successful WRC career. He finished the world championship eleven times in the top three. After switching to off-road rallying he won the FIA Cross Country World Cup in 2007. Before the 2010 "Dakar" the Madrilenian celebrated eight podium positions including four victories from 14 off-road rallies. The passionate footballer claimed his most important victory in a desert rally in his 15th cross country rally: the long desired "Dakar" victory.
Respected by opponents and team alike: Carlos Sainz
"Carlos Sainz is incredibly target oriented and works in an incredibly structured way," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "He brought a lot of experience from other leading teams to Volkswagen Motorsport. He shares his ideas and know-how openly with other team mates, everybody in the team respects Carlos for his nature and performance - even when it isn't easy for the mechanics and engineers to be pushed permanently to the limits of their performance."
With Lucas Cruz, Sainz has a new co-driver since last year. "Carlos is a real gentleman, whether he's in or out of the cockpit," says the Catalan from Ripollet close to Barcelona, who has won every one of the three rallies he has contested up to now with Sainz in the Race Touareg. "He is an exceptional driver and great character. To work with him is something special every day."
Constructive cooperation as recipe for success
As different as Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz are in their appearance, the more constructive is their cooperation. During the Dakar Rally jointly working through the road book every evening is an integral part of the daily procedure. "It was important for us that Carlos had a feeling beforehand for the junctions and dangerous points expected during the following day," says Lucas Cruz. "I think this was one of the secrets to our success in the 2010 'Dakar'."
While "El Matador" Carlos Sainz approaches his work emotionally and spiritedly, the strength of his 35-year old wingman is found in his calmness. "To choose a Spanish speaking co-driver was a conscious decision," says Carlos Sainz. "It's quite simply an advantage to receive instructions in your own language, without having to translate it first in your head. This gives the last tiny piece of concentration. In addition, Lucas works meticulously and calmly and knows how to prepare perfectly for the forthcoming stages. I think the record of three wins in three rallies proves a point."
With the precision of the calm: Lucas Cruz
His appearance within the Volkswagen team is rather inconspicuous. Lucas Cruz does not like to be the centre of attention, but in fact puts himself at the service of the team. "Lucas is a quiet person and anything but a hot-blooded Spaniard," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "He complements Carlos Sainz perfectly. Lucas works through his tasks in a concentrated and precise manner. The balance inside the cockpit between Lucas and Carlos is 100 per cent. In addition they also get on famously with one another outside the Race Touareg."
Cruz has contested the Dakar Rally already for the second time with the Volkswagen factory team. In 2006 he completed the most important desert rally with the Race Truck. The Catalan had previously followed a career in both classic sprint rallies and also in off-road racing. Before he returned to Volkswagen he competed twice in the Dakar Rally for Mitsubishi. Together with his fellow countryman Joan "Nani" Roma the IT engineer clinched a top-ten position in 2009.
The language of the fans: Sainz/Cruz the stars in South America
In the exciting battle to the finish, staged with their Volkswagen team mates Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk, which the Spaniards finally won by a margin of 132 seconds, the support in Argentina and Chile clearly belongs to Sainz und Cruz. The factory duo in the Race Touareg with start number 303 was always at the centre of the media interest. Millions lined the route of the Dakar Rally. In addition to the driving and navigational skills, what they love about "El Matador" Sainz and his co-driver Cruz is the open manner. After winning the 2010 "Dakar" Sainz and Cruz are not only closer than ever before with their fans. The most recent victory has brought them even closer: To a strong unit in the Volkswagen cockpit.