ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team has retained its driver line-up for the forthcoming second season off Extreme E, with Carlos Sainz Sr. and Laia Sanz back behind the wheel.
The Spanish duo finished sixth in the inaugural season standings in the all-electric off-road series, tied on points with ABT Cupra XE courtesy of a podium in Greenland keeping them in the fight.
Sainz Sr., arguably one of the greatest rally drivers of all-time, has won the FIA World Rally Championship twice, in 1990 and ’92. He has also won the Dakar Rally three times, in 2010, 2011 and 2020.
Last month the 59-year-old Spaniard drove for the Audi Q Motorsport team in the Dakar rally, winning a stage and finishing 12th overall.
“We are about to start Season 2 of the Extreme E Championship. It’s quite surprising how fast time flies because it seemed yesterday that we were about to embark on this thrilling adventure that has taken us all over the world with a unique message,” said Sainz. “All the members of the ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team, also Laia and myself, are really looking forward to this new season in which we want to fight for everything. The experience we gained in 2021 must help us to take a step forward to start fighting for better results and even the championship. I am really looking forward to the first X Prix in Saudi Arabia to show just how much we have progressed.
“The level of the championship is really high, but we want to win and to send the strongest possible message about the importance of sustainability and respecting the environment. It makes me proud that we are doing this with a project that is entirely Spanish, so I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the parties that make this possible for their confidence, including Santander Private Banking and Power Electronics, which will continue supporting us this year.”
Laia Sanz also raced at Dakar this year in cars for the first time, having ridden motorbikes at the Dakar Rally every year since 2011. She has been crowned Trial world champion 13 times, Enduro world champion on five occasions and finished the Dakar Rally 10 times between 2011 and 2020. She finished ninth overall in 2015, achieving the best result ever by a woman in the motorcycle category on the event.
“I am really looking forward to the season opener in Saudi Arabia. I think it will be a different year to 2021 because we are not starting from scratch,” she said. “Now the team has experience with the Odyssey 21 (race vehicle) and I have been able to do many kilometers on four wheels, so I am convinced that I will be able to help the team much more. In the last races of 2021, we already took a step forward in terms of performance and I think that this is promising for what is to come. This winter I was able to do my first Dakar Rally racing on cars and I believe this will also prove really positive for this Extreme E season.
“It is true that I still lack experience in the wheel-to-wheel fights, but I am getting used to them and I am convinced that this season will be much better for us and that we will fight for better results. The level of the championship got much higher throughout 2021 and everything seems to suggest that this 2022 will be even tighter, so I am really looking forward to getting started.”