The 23-year-old Spaniard followed in the wheel tracks of his double World Champion father, Carlos Sainz, when he got behind the wheel of a New Renault Mégane R.S to tackle the last stage of the iconic rally. Carlos 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 closing stage 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.
Renault has a long history of competition in Rallye Monte-Carlo. A privately-entered Renault won the 1925 edition of the rally and a Renault Nervasport took victory in the 1935 event. Jean Ragnotti was victorious in the 1981 rally with the Renault 5 Turbo, while 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the 1958 win with a Dauphine spéciale driven by Jacques Féret and Guy Monraisse.
Carlos Sainz Sr won Rallye Monte-Carlo three times, in 1991, 1995 and 1998 and the World Rally Championship drivers’ title in 1990 and 1992.
Carlos Sainz, “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. It had different modes of driving that I was testing to get fully comfortable. You had the race mode, sport mode and a bit of traction control that you could adjust. The steering was very accurate and suspension was stiff for the twisty sections so I was really enjoying it a lot. It was a fantastic experience – quite slippery in places to give the full Monte Carlo experience! My dad just told me to take it carefully, but I had a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone for the opportunity.”
Patrice Ratti, managing director of Renault Sport Cars, “Eight months after its camouflaged appearance at the Monaco Grand Prix, the New Mégane R.S. has made another public outing, this time on the roads of the 86th Rallye Monte-Carlo, before orders start to be taken in February. We couldn’t have dreamt of a better setting to highlight the New Mégane R.S. qualities, including ‘best in class’ chassis, which links performance, agility and stability and its competition-inspired design. I am particularly proud that Renault Sport Formula One Team driver Carlos Sainz, who is also a former Formula Renault champion, lent us his talent for this demonstration run. His participation expresses the close links that unite our sporting range to Renault Sport Racing.”
Carlos Sainz Sr, ‘I’m very happy that Carlos has experienced a taste of such a legendary rally. Monte Carlo was, and still is, a very special race for all motorsport fans. Carlos has driven rally cars before, but experiencing the roads of this particular event is different. I gave him a couple of tips, but the most important one was “enjoy”.