Carlos Sainz Sr in 2019 Dakar Rally talks with Toyota and Mini
|By Sergio Lillo||Tuesday, June 19th 2018, 10:27 GMT|
Carlos Sainz Sr is in talks with both the Toyota and X-raid Mini teams about a 2019 Dakar deal following Peugeot's withdrawal from cross-country rallying.
Sainz, 56, secured his second Dakar triumph in January in Peugeot's swansong outing in the event, beating Toyota's Nasser Al-Attiyah by 43 minutes.
The two-time World Rally champion has been weighing up his future options since, with moves to both the Toyota Gazoo Racing outfit and the X-raid Mini team a possibility for the 2019 Dakar.
Sainz tested both the Toyota Hilux 4x4 and the Mini John Cooper Works Buggy in Morocco in spring.
Both teams are said to have been impressed with Sainz's performance, with a decision on whether to join one or the other - or retire from competition altogether - entirely down the Spaniard himself.
A Toyota spokesperson told Autosport: "Sainz was testing the Hilux in Morocco and the test was really positive.
"We keep talking and negotiating with him every week and we are waiting for a decision."
Al-Attiyah and team-mates Giniel de Villiers and Bernhard ten Brinke scored six stage wins in the 2018 Dakar, only one fewer than Peugeot's four-car squad.
Mini struggled with its trio of brand new JCW Buggies, with Mikko Hirvonen, Bryce Menzies and Yazeed Al-Rajhi all hitting trouble.
X-raid boss Sven Quandt declined to comment when contacted by Autosport about the prospect of Sainz joining the team.
The next major event on the cross-country rally calendar is July's Silk Way Rally, where X-raid will be represented by Nani Roma - making his return to competition after sustaining head injuries on the Dakar - and Al-Rajhi.
Al-Attiyah spearheads the Overdrive Toyota team's charge, joined by Polish driver Aron Domzala.