|SA-Dakar Rally: Hino Truck maintains top position in under 10-litre class.|
On January 5, the final day in Argentina for the 2012 Dakar Rally, contestants raced a 177 km segment between Chilecito and Fiambala. This day, the Motorbikes, Cars, and Trucks categories were each designated different courses. And while the distances were short - 265 km for motorbikes and 117 km for cars and trucks - this segment was surely one of the highlights of this year's race.
The two Japanese Hino 500 Series trucks fielded by "Hino Team Sugawara" completed this SS in great form. Car 2 piloted by Teruhito Sugawara and Seiichi Suzuki - which has maintained its overall top spot in the "Under 10-litre class" - finished the SS with no signs of slowing down from getting stuck or overheating, and crossed the goal line at 18th overall and 1st in the class. As a result, it moved up to the 17th spot overall and increased the lead it had over the 2nd spot contender in its class.
Meanwhile, Car 1 crewed by Yoshimasa Sugawara and Hiroyuki Sugiura - which completed the SS in Chilecito yesterday at 45th overall and 5th in the Under 10-litre class, achieving an overall standings of 28th and 3th in its class - delivered a solid performance for the 28th spot overall and 3rd in class for this SS. As a result, it improved its overall standings to 25th overall and 4rd in its class.
Yoshimasa Sugawara: "Now that we're five days into the race, I feel that I'm getting more used to the competition and life on the rally field. This year, the GPS way points which we are required to pass have been placed in a more driver-friendly manner and this makes it easier for the more experienced drivers. We will be entering Chile next, so I will make sure we deliver a solid race."
Hiroyuki Sugiura: "While this was the end of the Argentine stage, we are still in for intense competition in the days to come. I am committed to stay on top of things as we enter Chile where we will be facing even more sand."
Teruhito Sugawara: "Our truck has been doing very well so far - to the point of being a bit spooky. This is partially due to the fact that the courses have not been as difficult as I had imagined, perhaps due to the rising number of rally beginners in the race. In some ways I could use a bit more challenge."
Seiichi Suzuki: "Car 2 sustained some cracks in its rear body frame, and we have been taking care of this with welding. This might be an indication that it is taking more of a hit because it was designed primarily for light weight."
2012/01/07 | 12:04 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/HINO