Renault Sport Formula One Team driver Carlos Sainz made his World Rally Championship debut in the final stage of the 2018 Rallye Monte Carlo. The 23-year-old Spaniard followed his father’s steps when he got behind the wheel of a New Renault Mégane R.S. Carlos Sainz Sr. is a rally legend, a 2-time WRC champion and days ago won for the second time the Dakar Rally.
Carlos Jr. acted as the VIP course car to take on the 13.58km SS17 La Cabanette-Col de Braus stage that ran through the Alpes-Maritimes surrounding the Principality of Monaco.
The stage, which was the closing stage of the 2018 WRC-season opening rally, started at 1,400m above sea level and descended through a series of tight hairpin bends before climbing again over a high mountain pass and ending at the Col de Braus. The New Renault Mégane R.S. was equipped with studded, snow tyres that helped Carlos negotiate the icy, slippery conditions.
Renault has a long history of competition in Rallye Monte Carlo. A privately-entered Renault won the 1925 edition of the rally and a Renault Nervasport took victory in the 1935 event. Jean Ragnotti was victorious in the 1981 rally with the Renault 5 Turbo, while 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the 1958 win with a Dauphine spéciale driven by Jacques Féret and Guy Monraisse.
Carlos Sainz Sr. won Rallye Monte Carlo three times, in 1991, 1995 and 1998 and the World Rally Championship drivers’ title in 1990 and 1992.
F1 driver Carlos Sainz made his World Rally Championship debut in the final stage of the 2018 Rallye Monte Carlo
“That was very special. I have dreamt about doing this a lot of times in my life and now thanks to Renault it has come true”, Sainz Jr. said.
“I have always wanted to do a rally with a co-driver, pace notes and a good pace and I loved it. The car was really good. It had different modes of driving that I was testing to get fully comfortable. You had the race mode, sport mode and a bit of traction control that you could adjust. The steering was very accurate and suspension was stiff for the twisty sections so I was really enjoying it a lot. It was a fantastic experience – quite slippery in places to give the full Monte Carlo experience! My dad just told me to take it carefully, but I had a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone for the opportunity.”
Sainz Sr. added: “I’m very happy that Carlos has experienced a taste of such a legendary rally. Monte Carlo was, and still is, a very special race for all motorsport fans. Carlos has driven rally cars before, but experiencing the roads of this particular event is different. I gave him a couple of tips, but the most important one was ‘enjoy’.”
— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) January 29, 2018