Car 2 Climbs to 8th Spot in the Overall Trucks Category.
The Liaison to Salta Was Fragmented Due to a Mudslide, Delaying All Vehicles. Organizers Cancel Competition for Tomorrow, Jan. 11.
On January 10, Stage8
Uyuni (Bolivia) - Salta (Argentina)
Liaison: 49km SS: 171km Liaison: 533km Total: 753km
Jan. 10 was the second day of the marathon stage where contestants raced an SS and crossed the border into Argentina on their way from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina. A 492km SS was originally planned for this stage, but organizers have had to make major changes again this day due to the bad weather. While the first part of the rescheduled segment―from their departure from Uyuni on a 49km liaison to the SS start line―remained unchanged from the original, the SS itself was shortened with a finish line set at the 171km point, or CP1 (checkpoint 1). Contestants then took a liaison route to cross the border into Argentina where an SS for the trucks category had been canceled the previous day. As a result, trucks were rerouted to an assistance route which was to take them to the bivouac in Salta. In the 171km SS, contestants raced in highlands at elevations in the 4000m range, and also battled dunes in the first half. Later in the day, the course transitioned to wide-open parallel pistes (areas with numerous parallel unpaved roads) where racers were able to show off their speed, before taking them on mountain roads to the SS finish.
Car 2 piloted by the Teruhito Sugawara/Hiroyuki Sugiura crew
Both of HINO TEAM SUGAWARA’s HINO500 Series trucks continued to put up a good fight in this short but challenging SS. Car 2 crewed by Teruhito Sugawara and Hiroyuki Sugiura finished at 14th place overall and top in the Under 10-litre Class. Car 1, which arrived at Uyuni past midnight yesterday, also delivered great performance finishing at 31st overall and second in the class.
Based on these results, Car 2 has improved its accumulated overall standings as of Jan 10 to 8th place. The truck currently trails behind the Aleksandr Vasilevski crew (MAZ) in 7th spot by a minuscule 1 minute 01 seconds, and leads the Martin Kolomy crew (Tatra) behind them by 18 minutes and 56 seconds. While these standings were strictly preliminary as of this writing, they demonstrate how the Hino team is closing in on the performance of the leading group in the trucks category.
Meanwhile, Car 1 stands at 32nd place overall, and the team continues to maintain its 1-2 standings in the Under 10-litre Class.
This day, the assistance route on the way to Salta became fragmented when a village along the route was hit by a storm which triggered a mudslide. This made it impossible for competing vehicles who had finished the SS, including Hino team trucks, as well as assistance vehicles and the organizer’s vehicles to drive the route. Organizers instructed all vehicles to take a 200km detour across the Andes, but it is being reported that even this detour would be difficult to pass on larger vehicles and vehicles without all-wheel drive. As of 10:00pm, none of the racing motorbikes, cars, nor trucks have arrived at Salta. Hardly any of the assistance vehicles have arrived either and the bivouac looks quite deserted.
Due to these circumstances, organizers have announced that they will be canceling the SS for tomorrow, Jan. 11, which was scheduled to be set en route from Salta to Chilecito. Competition will resume on Jan. 12 on the way from Chilecito to San Juan.
Car 1 piloted by the Yoshimasa Sugawara/Mitsugu Takahashi crew
The bivouac at Salta looks deserted as none of the racing or assistance vehicles have arrived yet.
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