The Teruhito Sugawara Crew Piloting Car 2 Crosses the Finish Line in Buenos Aires at 8th Place Overall. Car 1 Finishes at 29th Place Overall. Team Makes 1-2 Finish in the Under 10-litre Class.
January 14, Stage 12
Rio Cuarto (Argentina) - Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Liaison: 50km SS: 64km Liaison: 673km Total: 787km
Contestants of Dakar Rally 2017 crossed the finish line in Buenos Aires today on Jan. 14, bringing the fierce competition over the past two weeks to a close. Of the two HINO500 Series trucks that HINO TEAM SUGAWARA entered in the rally, Car 2 crewed by Teruhito Sugawara and Hiroyuki Sugiura finished at 8th overall in the trucks category with a stunning performance that posed a real threat to the leading group of larger trucks, and also won its 8th straight victory in the Under 10-litre Class. Car 1 crewed by Yoshimasa Sugawara and Mitsugu Takahashi finished at 29th overall. The team's two HINO500 Series trucks made a 1-2 finish in their class.
Mr. Ichikawa, Hino Motors chairman and Teruhito Sugawara exchange a solid handshake on the podium.
The two HINO500 Series trucks that the Hino team entered in this rally had been given substantial upgrades to their engines and suspensions. From the beginning of the rally, Car 2 delivered performance that was on par with its larger rivals, and Car 1 also climbed in accumulated rankings with consistent runs. While a number of stages had to be shortened or canceled during and after the middle part of the rally in Bolivia, the Car 2 crew maintained their cool, advancing to 10th in accumulated overall standings in the trucks category on Jan. 10, and further advancing their standings to 8th place the following day.
The last day of the rally, Jan. 14, took contestants from Rio Cuarto to Buenos Aires, Argentina where they raced the last SS of the event on 64 kilometers of agricultural roads near Rio Cuarto. The short distance of this SS meant that racers would not be able make up much time even if they pushed hard. So few contestants upped their pace as doing so would invite greater risks. The Hino team's trucks delivered solid runs with Car 2 finishing the SS at 21st overall, and Car 1 at 35th.
The SS was followed by a 650km liaison route that took contestants to Buenos Aires where they took part in a goal ceremony at a podium set up in front of the Automobile Club of Argentina.
It was past 11 pm by the time the Hino team showed up at the podium. As the trucks appeared beside the podium―Car 2 first, followed by Car 1―crew and mechanics exchanged solid handshakes with Hino Motors chairman Masakazu Ichikawa, who had flown in from Japan to applaud the team, and other team associates. Team members then lined up for a group photo as they waved to the cheering crowd, bringing their stint in this two-week rally to a close.
Masakazu Ichikawa, Chairman of the Board of Hino Motors: We have been supporting the team all the while, and Mr. Teruhito's single-digit finish in the category was truly admirable. Mr. Yoshimasa did very well too. I am very happy of these results.
Yoshimasa Sugawara: I'm very happy with Teruhito's finish in 8th place overall. We raced as we had planned and were able to win with a 1-2 finish. I am still full of energy. Thank you very much for your support.
Mitsugu Takahashi: The rally seemed zip by in a blink of an eye, and I'm happy to have finished in good shape. The last SS didn't require any navigation, but in terms of the rally overall, there were many areas where navigation was quite difficult so it was tough.
Teruhito Sugawara: I'm glad that we were able to finish in 8th position overall. Besides the fact that our trucks have been vastly upgraded, I think the fact that there were many canceled stages and navigation was difficult this year worked to our advantage. That said, this outcome was not a fluke but the result of our hard work. We are looking to upgrading our trucks even more for the next rally. Thank you very much.
Hiroyuki Sugiura: The SS today was set on agricultural roads with right angle turns appearing one after the other. Some sections had turned into muddy swamps and were quite risky as we had trouble bringing the truck to a full stop. In any case, I'm glad that we were able to finish the rally without any problems. This was the first single-digit finish for me so I'm very happy with these results.
Seiichi Suzuki: I'm glad that we were able to finish without any major problems. I am happy about Car 2's 8th place finish, but I'm certainly not satisfied. We can do much more.
Masaki Nakamura: I'm relieved that the rally is over. It's great that we were able to achieve the single-digit finish that we were all aiming for. I'd like to give the mechanics a pat on the back for putting in such great work under harsh conditions such as high altitudes, the cold and heat.
Hiroyuki Azuma: I'm glad that both trucks were able to finish without anybody getting injured or sick. That was a big thing for me. And I'm ecstatic about these great results.
Koji Nakamura: Time just zipped by and it was over even before I knew it. The toughest thing for me was the little amount of sleep we got. That said, I'm glad that we didn't have any major problems. I am very happy with these amazing results.
Junya Inoue: Two weeks just flew by. And I'm happy that the truck I was in charge of finished with great results.
Kenji Kunimoto: While we didn't encounter as many problems as we did in our test run in the Silk Way Rally, but to be honest, things were much more hectic with two trucks. I think we did pretty well in terms of servicing work. It has been a great experience.
Kohei Shimazaki: Driving the assistance car this year, it really hit me how you can't win against nature, what with the intense rain and cold. I hope I get to come again if the opportunity arises.
Koji Tanaka: It was tough everywhere we went―the highlands, the heat, and this last bivouac. But finishing the competition with great results has a way of melting all that fatigue away. I'm relieved that it's over.
Ryu Takashima: I played a support role and this was the first time I joined team. I had a great time, including the times that I would shout words of support when the going got tough. I hope to be able to speak the language better the next time I come.
The Car 1 crew and staff members on the podium.
Mr. Ichikawa, Hino Motors chairman with HINO TEAM SUGAWARA
Mr. Ichikawa, Hino Motors chairman with father and son duo, Yoshimasa and Teruhito Sugawara.
Father and son duo, Yoshimasa and Teruhito Sugawara
Yoshimasa Sugawara shakes hands with his Car 1 crew mate, Mitsugu Takahashi.
HINO TEAM SUGAWARA and their two HINO500 Series trucks
Yoshimasa Sugawara gets a victory toss.
Teruhito Sugawara also gets a victory toss.
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