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Carloz Sainz Jr’s Following His Dad’s Footsteps In Rallye Monte Carlo

Carlos Sainz Jr has big racing shoes to fill. His namesake father won the World Rally Championship twice, and just added his second Dakar Rally trophy to his cabinet. But Junior is trying hard – plus, he’s still young…

The 23-year-old Spaniard is set to return for his fourth season in F1 this year, driving for the Renault F1 team, but before the 2018 championship kicks off , he’ll drive the final stage of the Rallye Monte Carlo.
Mind you, he will not compete in the race; instead, he will be driving a new Megane RS as the 00 course car that’ll clear the way for the competitors to follow. Still, it’ll give him a chance to experience first-hand the rally that his father won three times in the 1990s.
“I’m really looking forward to experiencing Rallye Monte Carlo for the first time,” said Sainz. “I’ve heard so much about it from my dad – how difficult the stages are, how the conditions can change in an instant from snow to rain or bright sunshine and of course how you need nerves of steel for some of those mountain passes and hairpins!”
Fortunately, his ride, though designed for the road, should to be up to the task. Revealed just this past fall in Frankfurt, the new Megane RS boasts a 1.8-liter turbo four with 280 horsepower and a new four-wheel steering system. After playing rally ace in Monaco, it will probably try to reclaim the front-drive lap record at the Nürburgring, a prize several of its own predecessors have held before, and which now belongs to the Honda Civic Type R.
The younger Sainz won titles in both classes of Formula Renault on his way up the ladder before signing with Scuderia Toro Rosso. His best finish so far was fourth place at Singapore last year in the STR12, only a few races before he was traded to the team that supplied its engines.
Even with the best tutor, his new team might prove hesitant to let its new hot-shoe dabble in rallying competitively. That’s understandable since the same team earlier this decade gave Robert Kubica permission to race in rallies in the off-season, and he ended up seriously injured. That left the team without its star driver, and Kubica’s only now returning to Formula 1, as a test/reserve driver for Williams). On the other hand, Kimi Raikkonen didn’t seem to have much trouble switching back and forth between the two disciplines, competing in the World Rally Championship before returning to F1 with Lotus (as the same team was then branded). But then, he’s Finnish, and driving on slippery surfaces is second nature to him.
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