In January, Carlos Sainz will be on the starting line of the Dakar Rally 2020 in Saudi Arabia.
At 57, the Spanish driver is getting ready for his 12th entry in the world's toughest rally.
Carlos Sainz Snr won the World Rally Championship in 1990 and 1992 for Toyota and finished runner-up four times.
The veteran has also won the Race of Champions, the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship and the 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland before moving onto the Dakar Rally in more recent years.
He’s won Dakar on two occasions, in 2010 and 2018.
Known as ‘El Matador’, Sainz will be competing in his X-Raid Mini JCW, a diesel buggy, with fellow Spaniard Lucas Cruz as a co-driver. They’ve completed six Dakar rallies together, including during both first placed finishes.
He’s slightly adapted his training method to fit the need of the 2020 edition that will deliver longer stages and different conditions from the South American racing of the recent years.
"For this Dakar,” Sainz says, “we are going to spend many hours in the car, with several stages over 500 kilometres, without altitude but with heat.
"Based on that, we have defined the type of training we need. We don't want to gain muscle volume, because it doesn't make much sense, but rather endurance and strength.”
He adds: "Those of us who like sports never stop training, but I started to train harder since September, to have a more specific and methodical programme that, depending on the day, alternates working with weights, aerobics and series, all to improve strength and resistance.
"When you sit for so long and with the blows that you receive inside the car in jumps and dunes, your lumbar area and your neck suffer.
"I have some problems in both areas, so we need to strengthen those muscles. It's about keeping up the pace and speed throughout the stage, so physically you have to keep up. Riding the bicycle for more than two hours help me do that."
The abdomen and lumbar area are reinforced with planks and other exercises. The neck, on the other hand, follows a technique well known to all riders: working with elastic bands and weights around the head.
Sainz says: "I'm proud to have the chance to keep on competing and to have been the oldest driver to win this event.
"I don't have too much time to go on, but I think I have earned the right to be here and enjoy myself until I decide to stop.”
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