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Renault Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz Jr said his father warned him “about 100 times” to be careful ahead of driving the final two stages of the Monte Carlo Rally last Sunday.
Sainz Jr drove a Renault Megane R.S. course car on the Col de Turini and Col de Braus stages of the 2018 World Rally Championship opener, his first involvement in an official rally.
Those stages contained a mix of dry and wet road, dirt, slush and polished ice, and Sainz said his two-time WRC champion father had urged him to be cautious before an event he arrived too late to do a recce for.
“I talked to my co-driver earlier in the week and I told him just to grade the notes quite simply,” he explained.
“He told me the areas with the ice and gravel – there was a lot of gravel in the powerstage.
“This was a lot to take in at the start, but as I got to know the pacenotes, all of a sudden I started to feel more together and I could push a bit more – but only when it was dry and I was confident of the grip.
“Before I came here, my dad asked me about 100 times to be careful.
“It was not a day to try something special and to do something special without proper preparation.”
Sainz said he would have preferred to arrive two days earlier and replicate his father’s tendency to “prepare everything in detail”.
The 23-year-old is preparing for his first full season with the Renault team after being loaned to the French manufacturer by Red Bull.
He added the experience was “the best thing the team could ask the son of a World Rally champion”.
“It was a dream come true to drive over the Turini with three or four kilometres of ice,” he said.
“Coming up the hill on the Turini stage, I was looking and waiting, then my co-driver said, ‘The col is coming’.
“We came through the right and left and over the top: there it was. Suddenly so many memories came to my mind.
“The atmosphere was incredible, but it was hard to take it all in.”
Sainz admitted that the spectacle of the stage was quickly replaced by caution as he tried to complete it.
“The conditions from there down the hill to the finish of that stage were so slippery and really tricky,” he said.
“There were a couple of kinks, where it was difficult to keep the foot down.
“I had the winter tyre, but I didn’t have the stud, which is why in the ice I was very, very, very steady.
“It’s definitely made me more excited to do something, but it’s not my time for this yet.”