Carlos Sainz warmed up for the start of this year’s Formula One season in style by making his World Rally Championship debut in the final stage of the 2018 Rallye Monte-Carlo.
The 23-year-old Renault driver followed in the wheel tracks of his double World Champion dad, also called Carlos Sainz, when he got behind the wheel of a New Renault Mégane R.S to tackle the last stage of the iconic rally on Sunday.
Sainz acted as the VIP course car to take on the 13.58km SS17 La Cabanette-Col de Braus stage that ran through the Alpes-Maritimes surrounding the Principality of Monaco.
The stage, which was the close of the 2018 WRC-season opening rally, started at 1,400m above sea level and descended through a series of tight hairpin bends before climbing again over a high mountain pass and ending at the Col de Braus.
The new Renault Mégane R.S was equipped with studded, snow tyres that helped Carlos negotiate the icy, slippery conditions.
Sainz said: “That was very special. I have dreamt about doing this a lot of times in my life and now thanks to Renault it has come true.
“I have always wanted to do a rally with a co-driver, pace notes and a good pace and I loved it. The car was really good.”
The Spaniard added: “My dad just told me to take it carefully, but I had a lot of fun.”
His dad said he was ‘very happy’ that Sainz got to experience a taste of ‘such a legendary rally’.
Renault, whose Formula One base is in Enstone, won the 1925, 1935, 1958 and 1981 editions of the rally.
Sainz will be back in more familiar surroundings when the lights go out for Formula One opener in Melbourne on March 26.