Carlos Sainz won his second Dakar Rally championship

A driver overcame controversy to claim one of the most dangerous races in the world
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Spanish driver Carlos Sainz overcame controversy to win his second career Dakar Rally on Saturday in Argentina.

Sainz won the 2018 Dakar Rally with Peugeot, and he won the 2010 Dakar Rally with Volkswagen.

Earlier in the week, Sainz was hit with a 10-minute penalty for hitting Kees Koolen and not stopping to check if he was injured. The Dakar rules indicate that drivers must stop if they see someone who might be injured.

Sainz said he didn’t touch Koolen, but Koolen maintained that Sainz hit him and threatened legal action.

However, Dakar officials reviewed the situation and reversed the penalty on Sainz, and they announced there wasn’t enough of a collision to warrant a penalty.

“The telemetry does not show any crashes,” Peugeot Sports boss Bruno Famin said via Motorsport. “Maybe a brush, but nothing like an impact. The accelerometer didn’t register it, just as Carlos hadn’t.

“In the telemetry, you can see Carlos follows the quad during 12 seconds at 50km/h, and when the quad loses control, he brakes again to 37km/h. It is clear that Carlos braked hard and turned the steering wheel sharply to avoid the quad.

“I’ve read some statements from the quad rider. I think Carlos’ behavior in this incident was perfect and the quad rider should thank Carlos for having avoided him. These are the facts.”

Sainz said he was happy he was able to overcome difficult circumstances to win the rally.

“We managed to do it,” Sainz said according to AutoBlog. “They (Peugeot) have already won two times, but I think I deserved this victory because we have put lot of effort into this car.

“I had ups and downs, but I always tried my best. Especially this rally, it has been so, so hard.”

Sainz, 55, now has two Dakar Rally championships to go along with his two World Rally Championships from the 1990s.

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