Spaniard Carlos Sainz became a triple Dakar Rally champion with the Mini X-Raid team at the age of 57 on Friday while American Ricky Brabec took the motorcycle crown for Honda and ended KTM’s 18-year dominance.
Brabec is the first American to win the Dakar on two wheels since the grueling endurance event started from Paris through the Sahara desert to the Senegalese capital in West Africa in 1979.
Both were also the first winners in Saudi Arabia, a country making its debut as host of an event staged in South America for the past decade.
Two times world rally champion Sainz, whose son and namesake races in Formula One for McLaren, ended the final timed stage with a six minute and 21 seconds advantage over Qatar’s defending champion Nasser al-Attiyah.
Sainz also won in 2010 and 2018.
His three victories have been with different car manufacturers, the first coming with Volkswagen and the second in a Peugeot.
“We started winning this Dakar on day one and we have gone flat out from the beginning,” said Sainz, hailed by his son on Twitter as a legend.
Saudi Arabia’s Prince and head of General Sports Authority Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Saud (L), Spain’s driver Carlos Sainz (C) and Managing director of Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) Yann Le Moenner in Qiddiya, Saudi Arabia, January 17, 2020. (AFP)