Carlos Sainz Sr has been officially unveiled as a driver for the maiden Extreme E season in 2021, with the double World Rally champion signing for Spanish team QEV.
As reported by Autosport earlier this month, the 58-year-old was expected to compete in the inaugural campaign of the all-electric SUV off-road racing championship.
This followed his initially undisclosed test of the ODYSSEY 21 car in France last month along with nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb and Mercedes Formula 1 racer Valtteri Bottas.
The official confirmation of Sainz’s move to XE, which includes taking a management role in the team, was made during a press conference streamed live on Monday morning.
QEV has ties to sister all-electric championship Formula E, having assisted the management and operations of the Mahindra Racing and NIO 333 teams.
Sainz said: “It’s a great opportunity to have something new for me.
“There are two great things new for me.
“One is to have the opportunity after driving so many cars, before I finish my career I get to drive something that’s 100% electric.
“Second is to be part of ownership of the team. I will be in this area and driving the car as well. So far I have not been able to do that.
“I would like also to say I will continue with Dakar project.”
In addition to his World Rally success for Toyota in 1990 and 1992, earlier this year Sainz completed his hat-trick of Dakar Rally victories aboard an X-raid Mini Buggy.
It was at this January event he had his first look around the XE car, present in Saudi Arabia for ex-World Rallycross driver Ken Block to contest the final stage as an invitational entry.
Sainz met with long-time friend and XE co-founder Alejandro Agag – who also approached Lewis Hamilton about creating his own X44 squad for XE.
As reported by Autosport, it has now been confirmed that Laia Sanz – a 10-time motorbike finalist of the Dakar – will be Sainz’s team-mate as part of the mandated XE female-male pairing.
Although Sanz specialises in two-wheeled competition, she has made fleeting SEAT Eurocup, 24H Series and RX Lites cameo appearances.
Sanz said: “You can imagine how happy I am having Carlos Sainz as a team-mate.
“I have been following his career since I was realty young.
“Being his team-mate is a big pleasure. I hope to learn a lot and learn fast to be competitive.”
Joaquin Mollinedo, brand officer for QEV commercial partner ACCIONA – a specialist in development renewable energy technologies – added: “We have two main goals.
“To perform in the sport as best as we can and the second one is to use the loud speaker of the Extreme E platform and our own team to develop a conscience of the need for the fight against climate change to protect ecosystems and biodiversity and sustain gender equality.”
Ex-Formula 1 driver Pedro de la Rosa is expected to act as QEV team principal after departing his role as sporting and technical director for the DS Techeetah FE team.
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