Competition Resumes on a Long 448km SS. Car 2 Finishes the SS at 11th Overall to Keep Its 8th Position in Accumulated Overall Standings. Car 1 Makes a Good Run Finishing at 23rd Overall, and Improves its Accumulated Standings to 27th.
On January 12, Stage10
Chilecito (Argentina) - San Juan (Argentina)
Liaison: 163km SS(A): 263 km Neutral zone: 90km SS(B): 185km Liaison: 49km Total: 750km
While the original plan called for a 406km SS in the Argentine Andes foothills that would have challenged racers with a high level of difficulty, organizers were forced to cancel the SS due to the assistance route being cut off by a mudslide on Jan. 10. Racing vehicles traveled on a 674km assistance route to Chilecito.
Car 2 piloted by the Teruhito Sugawara/Hiroyuki Sugiura crew
Dakar Rally 2017 resumed competition on Jan. 12 with contestants racing a total of 448km in the longest SS of the year’s event between Chilecito and San Juan, Argentina. The SS was divided into two parts with a 90km neutral zone in between. The first half, which coursed a distance of 263km to the west of Chilecito, challenged contestants with off road terrain on dried river beds before transitioning to mountain roads at elevations of up to 3200m. The latter half, which was 185km long, was set on rough roads near San Juan. Motorbikes were the first to start this day, and cars and trucks made a mixed started in the order as determined by their clocked time in the last SS.
The rally has only three days to go until the finish line in Buenos Aires. Both crews on HINO TEAM SUGAWARA’s HINO500 Series trucks continued their composed and yet aggressive driving as the rally entered the final stages.
The Teruhito Sugawara and Hiroyuki Sugiura duo on Car 2, who finished 8th overall in the SS to Salta, continued to deliver good performance this day. The truck was 15th to start and completed all of the points that were particularly difficult for navigators with no problems, passing CP 1 (checkpoint 1) at 4th overall. While the truck suffered a flat after the checkpoint, the loss of air was only gradual so the crew raced on by replenishing air with their CTIS (Central Tire Inflation System), finishing the first SS at 7th spot. The crew changed tires in the neutral zone that followed, and continued to race neck and neck with their rivals on larger trucks. Car 2 finished the latter SS at 11th overall and top in the Under 10-litre Class. Based on these results, Car 2 maintained its 8th spot in accumulated overall rankings as of Jan. 12.
Meanwhile, the Yoshimasa Sugawara and Mitsugu Takahashi crew on Car 1 continued to deliver consistent performance, inching their way up in standings. The truck was the 34th to start and improved its SS position for the first half to 19th place. Car 1 also underwent a flat, but the crew worked hard to reduce any time loss, such as by waiting for the neutral zone to change their tire, finishing the stage at 23rd overall and second in the Under 10-litre Class. These results boosted the truck’s accumulated overall standings to 27th place and second in the Under 10-litre Class.
On Jan. 13, contestants are scheduled to race a 288km SS en route to the last bivouac of the rally in Rio Cuarto, Argentina. The first part of the SS will feature dunes and contestants will not have the luxury of putting down their guards for the entire stage.
Yoshimasa Sugawara: We pushed hard to improve our accumulated standings now that we are on the home stretch. While we saw quite a few vehicles that had to turn back due to course errors, we were able to complete these segments error free. we’ll continue to keep on pushing tomorrow.
Mitsugu Takahashi: We haven’t had a long stage in a little while and the heat was quite intense, but I’m happy that we were able to deliver good results. The truck is doing just fine.
Teruhito Sugawara: While navigation in the early part of the SS was quite difficult, we were able to complete it error-free and I think this was one of the reasons we were able to pass CP1 in 4th place. Overall, I think we were able to deliver the kind of performance that we had in mind. I’m looking forward to the dunes in the early part of tomorrow’s stage.
Hiroyuki Sugiura: This was the first long stage in a little while―one that gave you a real sense that you were racing the Dakar Rally―and I must admit that it was tiring. Everyone was being pulled towards the dust kicked up by vehicles ahead of them and that made navigation much more difficult.
Seiichi Suzuki: Tonight, we’ll be changing all the belt-related components, such as tensioners and pulleys, on both trucks. After that, we’ll be replacing the flat tires and wheels.
Masaki Nakamura: Everyone is feeling good physically, but it must be tough what with the cold, the thin oxygen, and this sudden rise in temperature. We’ve only got a couple of more days to go, so we’ll make sure to complete our servicing work without any errors.
Hiroyuki Azuma: Time just seemed to zip by once the rally started. Two more days to go. This will be our last spurt to the finish so I intend to work with renewed focus.
Koji Nakamura: I haven’t had any major physical problems, but I am feeling a bit fatigued from the extreme changes in temperature. We’ve only got a couple of more days to go, so I will keep going until we finish.
Junya Inoue: This sudden heat has been quite tough to deal with, but I find it easier to work in than in the cold. We don’t have that many days to go, so I will continue to stay alert to the end so that we can finish with good results.
Kenji Kunimoto: We’re in the home stretch before we even knew it. I will stay focused to make sure that we don’t make any servicing errors that could jeopardize our standings.
Car 1 piloted by the Yoshimasa Sugawara/Mitsugu Takahashi crew
Mechanics guide Car 2 to its parking spot after it arrives at the bivouac.
Teruhito Sugawara finishes the SS at 11th overall.
Mechanics listen to Teruhito Sugawara as he describes how his truck is doing.
Junya Inoue and Hiroyuki Azuma discuss servicing procedures.
Yoshimasa Sugawara delivered a spirited run this day.
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