Two-time World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz and 13-time Women’s Trials World Champion Laia Sanz will team up to form the Acciona Sainz team’s line-up for the inaugural Extreme E season in 2021.
As well as driving, Sainz will be a part-owner of the Spanish team, which has a technical partnership with the QEV Technologies operation that secured an entry earlier this year.
The all-Spanish combination in the driving seat both have considerable off-road experience.
In addition to his 1990 and 1992 World Rally Championship titles, Sainz is a three-time winner of the Dakar Rally with three different car manufacturers, while Sanz’s motorcycle trial career has also included 10 European titles and ninth place on the 2015 Dakar.
“You can imagine how happy I am,” Sanz said. “Having Carlos as a team-mate, I’ve been always following his career since I was really young, and now being his team-mate, it’s a big pleasure.
“I hope to learn a lot and learn fast to be competitive and to be a big help for the team.
“I also want to thank [team partner] Acciona and QEV Tech and especially Carlos for the trust.
“I think it’s a big opportunity for us, for women. In motorsport it’s really difficult to have opportunities, and this is something really new and something really good for us to be competing in a really high level.”
The first XE season starts in Saudi Arabia in March 2021, two months after both Sainz and Sanz visit the country for the Dakar Rally. The series is also scheduled to visit Senegal, Greenland, Brazil and Argentina.
Sainz reiterated his commitment to his Dakar plans in the announcement of his XE entry.
“It’s a great opportunity to have something new for me,” said Sainz.
“Two great things new for me: one is to have the opportunity, after driving so many cars, before I finish my career to drive a 100% electric car. It’s the future and I know this well.
“The second is to be part of the ownership of a team, and that will be this early and I will be driving the car as well, so it’s something new that so far I haven’t been able to do it. And I am really looking forward to it.
“Don’t take me wrong, I will like also to say that I will continue with my Dakar project with Mini together with Team X-Raid. At the same time I would like to thank Acciona, QEV Technolgoies, and Laia of course.
“I have full support, full condidence in Laia. Laia’s from motorcycling but I have also 100% confidence that Laia will partner with myself in an incredible level.
“I could see already driving with her that it’s running very quickly and I’m extremely happy to share this car with here.”
Sainz becomes the third driver to have won an FIA world championship to own a team in XE, following Formula 1 champions Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.