The Dakar 2009 Race Report (Stage 1, January 3)
Starting the first rally in South America
Buenos Aires (Argentina) - Santa Rosa de la Pampa (Argentina)
Connection 196 km, SS 371 km, Connection 166 km, Total: 733 km
The race started on January 3rd, after the starting ceremony on January 2nd.
The 2009 Dakar Rally, held in Argentina and Chile for the first time, has at long last started. The starting schedule of this rally is slightly different from that of the conventional Dakar Rally, as it held its starting ceremony only in Buenos Aires on January 2nd.
The following day, without a “prologue run” on the 3rd, all participating vehicles sped towards Santa Rosa, the state capital of La Pampa, covering 733 km including the SS (Special Stage) of 371 km. The first SS was the section in which all vehicles could drive at highest speed over the course of the rally, as they drove over flat, unpaved roads (referred to as “piste”) across grass plains known as “pampas” covering the same area. It was a risky stage, as road surfaces were slippery due to fine dust which accumulates on the hard clay mud surfaces. Clouds of dust created by the vehicles ahead also increased the severity of driving conditions. The two Hino 500 Series vehicles of Hino Team Sugawara drove steadily through this section by keeping up a good pace with composure. Car 2 caught up with the Car 1 at a village located at the mid 180-km point. Car 2 (with Teruhito Sugawara and Seiichi Suzuki) which led from there reached the goal 18th in the Camion division, and Car 1 (with Yoshimasa Sugawara and Katsumi Hamura) completed the first day right behind, in 19th place. Although water and oil temperatures rose due to heat exceeding 30 degrees Celsius, the vehicles arrived safely at a bivouac in Santa Rosa before sunset, after driving the remaining 166 km connecting section.
|9||527||VAN DEN BRINK||GINAF||03:24:43|
|Car 1 leaving the starting ceremony venue in Buenos Aires on the night of January 2nd.||Mechanics gathered to cheer the vehicles at the starting ceremony.|
|Car 1 receiving a hearty cheer from the mechanics.||
500 thousands people observed Car 2 starting in Buenos Aires.
|Hino 500 Series arrived at the bivouac in Santa Rosa.||Crew members taking a breather after the first day.|
Yoshimasa Sugawara (Car 1 Driver)
"The steering maneuverability was not easy to control, due to the rutted roads of mixed sand and mud in the initial section, so my vehicle tended to drift when accelerated. I drove cautiously from then on, to avoid falling into the ditch -- there were indeed areas where the piste was only about one truck width. By the way, I was quite impressed with suspension stability -- front to rear weight distribution was improved by the repositioning of the engine rearwards."
Katsumi Hamura (Car 1 Navigator)
"The Dakar Rally has started after two years. Although this section was not so difficult for the navigator, the dust conditions were quite severe and the course was similar to that of the European stage."
Teruhito Sugawara (Car 2 Driver)
"We were able to get off to a steady start. Although the course was not difficult at all, we were totally covered by a cloud of dust all day long. Other than a leak in the blowby oil, I had no mechanical problem with the vehicle."
Seiichi Suzuki (Car 2 Navigator)
"We were surprised at the large crowd of people gathered at the starting ceremony held on the 2nd of January. It was a hot day, and that seems to have added burden to the vehicle. We cannot just accelerate as there are perpendicular corners not shown in the road book."