Carlos Sainz admitted that to win this year’s Dakar Rally he’d had to drive “flat out from the beginning” – and that aggressive tactic paid off, as he won the event for a third time.

Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz were indeed outstanding in their BAHRAIN JCW X-RAID TEAM Mini buggy, and never looked back after taking the lead on stage three – although, after 5,000kms, it was a very close finish.

Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel set the fastest time on the final stage to finish second, jus 6 minutes 21 seconds behind, in their Toyota Hilux. Their TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team-mates Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma finished in 13th place, having lost over two hours on the second stage and rolling on SS10.

Stephane Peterhansel/Paulo Fiuza completed the podium in another Mini buggy.

The 42nd Dakar Rally was held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and took competitors from the shores of the Red Sea in Jeddah, around the canyons and mountains of the western part of the country, over the dunes of the Empty Quarter and all the way to the Qiddiya Sports and Culture Complex near the capital Riyadh.

237 out of the 342 vehicles that started the rally appear in the final general classification: 96 motorbikes, 12 quads, 58 cars, 31 SSVs and 40 trucks. A further 19 vehicles withdrew from the race but reached Qiddiya under Dakar Experience rules.

"I feel very happy,” said Sainz. “There's a lot of effort behind this. A lot of training, practice, physically, with the team… We started winning this Dakar on day one and we have gone flat out from the beginning."

Carlos Sainz wears a Stilo WRC DES Zero 8860 helmet.

Carlos Sainz, Dakar Rally, Qiddiya, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, desert, buggy, motor sport, motorsport, rally, rallying, Fernando Alonso