Sainz, dart to Al-Attiyah: “Some people think we won’t last long”

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Nasser Al-Attiyah, speaking to Motorsport.com and ‘AS’ before the start of the Dakar 2024, made some surprising statements in which he predicted an early finish in the first stages for the three Audis in the hardest that race in the world. “I’ll give you three days to go home,” said the current Dakar champion, winner of the last two editions for a total of 5 ‘touaregs’. However, after the first part of the race, after the first 6 stages, Carlos Sainz leads the Dakar 2024 with a 20-minute lead over his Audi teammate, Mattias Ekström, who is second. Two Audis lead against Sébastien Loeb, who is half an hour away. Meanwhile, Nasser lost more than two hours at the end of stage 6 due to a mechanical problem.

For this reason, Carlos Sainz, in the press conference held by Audi on the day of rest, did not hesitate to recall those predictions, without naming one of his biggest rivals.

“Although there are those who think that we will not last long, at least we are here this first week,” said the Spaniard, although he is keeping a low profile and wants to reduce the euphoria that the management always gives. Carlos remembers that there is still a long way to go to reach the final goal, with a total of 2,384 kilometers spread over 6 special stages, where it is clear that anything can happen.

“Here in Dakar you can lose because of countless problems, including reliability, human errors, my mistakes, countless things. But hey, we’re in a good position.”

“We are better prepared than last year. The number one priority is reliability. And when you have such a complex car, it is normal to fear that something will go wrong,” he argued regarding an Audi that so far has performed wonderfully for both for pure performance as well as for reliability, although in such a complex car, with so many thousands of sensors that can stop it and force the whole system to restart or even if you leave it from a moment until the next, reliability is always a question.

Carlos does not accept his advantage of half an hour with Loeb and 20 minutes with Ekström, the pilots who are clear to him will take more risks.

In fact, that might be Carlos’ best weapon, allowing himself to handle the situation with more control, without having to go to the limit. Exactly, before the Dakar he gave one of the keys, ensuring that this year the fact that the FIA ​​has given more power to his car will allow him not to take too many risks, because when taken you they are when the accidents come. In this case, the reflection is the same.

“I feel comfortable with the car, but the problem is that it is a race where when you are behind, if you take risks it is easy to gain a lot of time. But it is also true that my experience says that sooner or later the Dakar will catch you,” he commented on that matter.

“I think that for Mattias (Ekström) or Sébastian Loeb, finishing second or third is of no use to them. “I’m sure they’re going to take risks,” he added.

“Everyone can go very fast, we can easily lose half an hour,” argued Carlos, who in AFP expressed the hope of delaying a victory by Loeb that he is sure will come sooner or later.

“It is clear that one day or another he will win the Dakar. We have to postpone that moment,” he said about Sébastien who has been in this test for 8 editions, so far without luck.

“Before starting the rally you see yourself there on the podium, that’s what you work for all year, thinking you’re going to win the race, if that’s not the case it’s very difficult to be motivated all year. without thinking you have a chance win “Impossible,” he acknowledged about his expectations before this test. Right now, he is starring in a rally that he would have signed up to do before the start.

There is no future decision

In addition, Carlos Sainz also referred to the rumors about the interest of Ford M-Sport in acquiring his services with Nani Roma for the next season in a context in which Carlos, at 61 years old, is not aware whether he continues next year or chooses to retire.

“I will not talk about assumptions about anything because my experience tells me that talking about something other than tomorrow is irrelevant. When the day comes and whatever happens, we will have time to think about the next day or the future. Now the only thing I worry about is tomorrow,” he reasoned.

“I’m thinking about tomorrow’s race first, then, if I finish, I’m thinking about the next one. For next year, we’ll see on Friday,” he repeated on ‘AFP’.

Source: La Verdad

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