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Old 10-29-2004, 07:04 PM   #1
eurojax
Review Crew
 
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Unhappy By Carlos :( (Sainz)

http://www.wrc.com/Features.aspx?PO_ID=5092&lang=en_GB

Quote:
Double world champion Carlos Sainz announced his retirement from rallying after the recent Rallye de France. The Spaniard, with 26 World Rally Championship wins and two drivers' titles under his belt, will be sadly missed. We look back at his lasting legacy on the sport...

Call him what you will - The King, El Matador, or just plain old Carlos Sainz. There’s no getting away from the fact that the man is a rallying legend. A true monarch among princes. Supremely passionate, consummately professional, always fully committed and invariably involved in some sort of drama, Sainz shares all of his best qualities (and there are many) with the sport that has been such a part of his life.

Sainz – a sportsman through and through – got his competitive kick by excelling at football and squash whilst training to be a lawyer, but gradually got involved in circuit racing and rallying. Throughout the course of the last two and a half decades, he has tasted success at every level and scored 26 World Rally Championship wins in addition to his two drivers’ championship titles in 1990 and 1992 with Japanese marque Toyota. During that time he’s driven for almost every major manufacturer with an involvement in rallying, from SEAT, Renault, Opel and Ford in the early 1980s to Toyota, Lancia, Subaru, Ford and Toyota in the 1990s, before heading back to Ford and ultimately ending his career at Citroen in the 21st century.

But, although Sainz seems to have moved teams more times than anyone else in the service park, his loyalty and work ethic have never been in any question. “At the delicate time when we were beginning our first full assault on the WRC, he helped point us in the right direction and came up with some good options,” Citroen team principal Guy Frequelin says. “I also owe him a great deal for the invaluable support he has given [newly-crowned world champion] Sebastien Loeb. He helped Seb ‘come of age’. Carlos is a great driver, a genuine star and a true gentleman. Like everyone in the team, I would have liked to have continued a little longer together, but I respect his choice and I can only thank him for all he has contributed to Citroen Sport.”

Like many of the Spaniard’s team-mates and competitors over the years, Sebastien Loeb has only good things to say about Sainz. He is undoubtedly a fierce rival (but, then, isn’t better to compete against and beat the best?), but, as Loeb also notes, Sainz is an honest and giving team player. “Working with Carlos has been a true pleasure,” the Frenchman says. “He has played a major role in the fact that we are champions. There were never any secrets or tension between us. He did everything he could to help me. He is experienced, intelligent and honest – the ideal team-mate. I don’t know if it’s possible, but it would be nice if he could work with us in some way.”

Since Sainz made his World Rally Championship debut in Portugal in 1987, he has been at the very forefront of the competition. Even this year, when he could be justified in having a ‘winding down’ year as he contemplated his future, Sainz seemed as competitive as ever, winning emphatically in Argentina and finishing on the podium on six other occasions, as well as finishing in the points on all but two rallies.

And that’s why his retirement at the end of the year will leave such a big hole in rallying for so many people. Think of your favourite rallying memories, and the name, face and cars of Sainz will invariably be pretty high up on the list. Think of Rally Catalunya, and all you can see is crowds of fevered Spanish fans chanting on their hero, or the drama of the run-up to the title shoot-out with Colin McRae in 1995. Think Rally GB in 1998, and the image of a smoking Toyota Corolla at the end of the final stage – just yards from winning the title – springs into the mind. The raw emotion on show from Sainz and co-driver Luis Moya that day indicated that winning a third championship had meant just as much as winning their first eight years ago.

But, having made the decision that ‘enough is enough’, Sainz can deservedly sit back, comfortable in the knowledge that he gave it his all and reaped the rewards well. He can now spend time with his wife, Reyes, and children Blanca, Carlos and Ana, and maybe fit in a few more days shooting with King Juan Carlos of Spain – a close personal friend. “It’s something of a special moment,” Sainz admits, having had a few days to reflect on finally announcing his decision. “A little difficult. I have thought long and hard about my decision, and I have no intention of coming back on it. There are moments when I feel a little sad, when I remember all the joy I have had in rallying, and when I think that will soon all be over. At other times, I think of all the things I am now going to be able to do with my family and friends. For the moment, you could say I have mixed feelings.”

Whoever else you may support in the world of rallying, it’s clear that almost unanimously among the World Rally Championship’s many enthusiasts, Sainz will be missed. There are no mixed feelings about that…
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Old 10-29-2004, 07:05 PM   #2
semabe
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Whew. For a second there I though Onederer went to the great Taqueria in the sky.
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Old 10-29-2004, 07:06 PM   #3
eurojax
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There, changed the title
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