Carlos Sainz won the Dakar Rally for a third time at 57 years old as the 2020 race came to a close in Saudi Arabia.
Sainz and his Mini X-Raid team co-driver Lucas Cruz became triple champions of the iconic endurance race having previously won in 2010 and 2018.
The 2020 Dakar Rally was contested across roughly 7,500 kilometres through Saudi Arabia, which was hosting the race for the first time.
Sainz’s son and namesake, who races for the McLaren Formula One team, took to Twitter to congratulate his Dad. Sainz Sr is known as 'El Matador' and has an esteemed history with the Dakar Rally.
The victory gave BMW-owned Mini its fifth overall Dakar Rally victory, while it's Mini and partner X-Raid’s first success since their winning run together between 2012 and 2015.
Competing in the Mini John Cooper Works buggy, Spanish duo Sainz and Cruz finished 6 minutes and 21 seconds ahead of last year’s Dakar Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Sainz was emotional after his Dakar Rally win and said: “I am very, very happy. So much hard work, physical training and test work with the team has gone into getting this result. The race was fantastic for us drivers, but you had to work very hard, right from day one. It is hard to imagine, but it was a full-throttle rally from the word go.”
Dakar record winner Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Paulo Fiuza came third to complete the podium places. The pair also raced in Mini JCW buggies and finished 9 minutes and 58 seconds behind Dakar Rally winners Sainz and Cruz to round off an impressive performance from the team.
Peterhansel said: “That was a bit of an odd Dakar for me. We decided at the last minute to change co-drivers, and then went straight into the race with Paulo Fiuza. I am happy with the result. We finished third, which was more than we would have expected at the start. The guys out in front were very quick and did not make any mistakes with the navigation."
The two Mini teams each won four stages at the 2020 Dakar Rally, while Mini vehicles went fastest on nine of the 12 days at the event. The Mini JCW Rally car of Vaidotas Zala and Saulius Jurgelenas won the opening stage.