Tuesday, January 18

Castera: “Carlos Sainz puts on the bandage before the wound”




MARCA has been able to chat with the Dakar director, David Castera, in the hours prior to the start of the 44th edition of the event (the Frenchman, who was a motorcycle racer (third in 1997) and then co-driver of Cyril Despres and Stéphane Peterhansel.

In a very good Spanish he assures that understands Carlos Sainz’s complaints about the possible disadvantage of electric vehicles in the regulation, but alleges that Audi was also at fault by not reaching the weight of 2,000 kilos they estimated at most of your RS Q e-tron, well they have stayed at more than 2,100.

Ask. An intense pre-Dakar for everyone and for the director, as much or more …

Answer. We have a lot of pressure with this wave of Covid. For 15 days we have only seen it go up and up with the new Omicron variant and nobody knows what could happen. We have made a change in the protocol to do a supplementary test because it was an added pressure for everyone that with a positive you had to leave. But we have no other option because if we let a positive enter the ‘bivouac’ (camp) …. In 2020 we did 2,000 tests and they were all negative. And now we have to start with a clean bubble.

Q. Have there been many cases?

R. Between the ASO organization and the pilots, only 30, that for lack of knowing the press (laughs). But they are few. And it’s a shame because they are immediately isolated. They will leave their rooms, but too late (to participate in this Dakar).

P. Including Petrucci and Sara García? (that have been negative later)

R. No, with which there are doubts an additional one is made and they have later come out negative. They are additional internal tests of ours.

Q. Your closest past as a competitor was cars, how do you see this category, which is the great unknown, and with those technologies that must balance each other?

R. That comes from the words of Carlos Sainz yesterday (laughs) …

P. Well, it’s not really from yesterday, you have been saying for a long time that not compensating the electric ones does not fit with the initial idea of ​​ASO on the new energies …

David Castera – Carlos Sainz – Dakar 2022 – Audi – Covid

R. I always say that he is putting on the bandage before suffering the injury … We want to try to balance it, but nobody knows what will really happen. It is all based on computer simulations and we have tried to give them something else (to the electricians). What Carlos does not say is that they (Audi) were wrong about the weight of their car …

P. Yes, the 2,000 kilos were set by them, Audi then stayed at 2,100 lengths for their new car …

R. You know it well. Carlos doesn’t say that. If they had had the weight of 2,000 that they initially estimated, it would be much better for them (better weight-to-power ratio than now). In any case, you have to wait and see what happens at the Dakar, because if the car is new, they can’t wait to get there and win the first time, they will need a year or two. I am happy to see how this revolution, because it is, is underway …

Q. This is one of the great novelties of 2022, the ‘clean’ Dakar. The other is that a World Championship begins here.

R. Exactly. It is a job that has taken us a long time with the FIA ​​to adjust the regulations for a World Cup. But it’s interesting, because I think we couldn’t continue outside the system. It is important for the teams, who now know that there will be a World Raids with five events and a very similar organization in all of them, and with press coverage. It is better for everyone.


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