Two-time WRC champion Carlos Sainz and Dakar bike legend Laia Sanz have linked up to form a new Extreme E entry named ACCIONA I Sanz XE Team.

The two Spaniards will also serve as drivers for the team, which is the ninth to sign up for the inaugural season of the all-electric off-road series.

In addition to his 1990 and 1992 WRC titles, Sainz has won the Dakar Rally three times (2010, 2018 and this year).

“This is undoubtedly a new kind of competition in the world of motorsport and not only because of the type of car, which is 100% electric and off-road, but because of the format,” he said.

“To compete in a championship where there is gender equality, where both drivers are equally important and where both are going to win and lose together seems very original and inclusive. For a veteran like me, this is one of the last things I am yet to try out: I would have left behind some unexplored territory!”

Sanz’s two-wheeled exploits include 13 Trial world championships and five Enduro world titles, as well as 10 Dakar starts, which yielded 10 wins in the womens’ motorcycle division and a ninth overall in the bike category in 2015, which is the highest-ever finish in the class by a female rider. Her move to Extreme E will mark her first foray into four-wheeled competition.

“I am very grateful for the faith Carlos, QEV Tech and ACCIONA have shown in me,” she said. “I’m tremendously motivated and excited as this is an important step for me; I’ve always had an interest in sports cars and I’m sure I’m going to learn greatly alongside Carlos. I’m a huge admirer of his and to form a team with him is like a gift; he’s the best teammate I could ask for. I hope to live up to expectations and to learn quickly to help the team out as soon as possible.

“The championship format is new in itself and it’s very interesting to see teams made up of men and women. It also includes a concept of sustainability: we have to start thinking about this. I think racing will steer increasingly in this direction.”