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Oldest Dakar winner Sainz takes his fourth title at 61

1 min

Spaniard Carlos Sainz extended his record as the oldest winner of the Dakar Rally on Friday with his fourth victory in the car category, and Audi's first, at the age of 61 and a year after breaking his back.

Lucas Cruz and Carlos Sainz

Spaniard Carlos Sainz extended his record as the oldest winner of the Dakar Rally on Friday with his fourth victory in the car category, and Audi's first, at the age of 61 and a year after breaking his back.

Ferrari Formula One driver Carlos Sainz Jr was there to embrace his beaming 'Matador' father as the two-week motorsport marathon reached the finish in Yanbu on Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coast.

American Honda rider Ricky Brabec won the motorcycling category for the second time while Spaniard Cristina Gutierrez triumphed in the lightweight Challenger class to become only the second female to take a title after Germany's Jutta Kleinschmidt in 2001.

Sainz finished one hour 20 minutes and 25 seconds ahead of Belgian debutant Guillaume de Mevius for Overdrive Toyota with France's Sebastien Loeb, a nine times world rally champion, third overall.

Loeb had been Sainz's biggest rival until mechanical problems on Thursday but he wrapped up with a fifth stage win in his Bahrain Raid Xtreme team's Prodrive Hunter.

Audi, now expected to focus on their Formula One entry in 2026, are the first to win with a car powered by an electric drive train.

The Audi RS Q e-tron uses an energy converter, featuring a 2.0 litre four cylinder turbo engine, to charge the car's high-voltage battery while driving.

The rally began in 1978 as a race from Paris across the Sahara to the Senegalese capital but switched to South America in 2009 for security reasons.

One of the greatest challenges in motorsport, with competitors battling towering desert dunes and inhospitable terrain, it moved to Saudi Arabia in 2020 and is now the flagship of the FIA world rally-raid championship.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin

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