The Dakar 2009 Race Report (Stage 5, January 7)
Car 2 earned a top place in the under 10-liter class, and Car 1 was stopped by powertrain trouble
Neuquen to San Rafael
Connection 173 km, SS 506 km, Connection 84 km, Total: 763 km
The Dakar Rally on the 7th covered the 506-km SS from Neuquen to San Rafael in Argentina. Car 2 (Teruhito Sugawara / Seiichi Suzuki) of Hino Team Sugawara’s Hino 500 Series vehicle reached the goal with a favorable result, placing 11th in the Camion division – among the top vehicles with an engine displacement of less than 10 liters. In this way, the Team was able to clear the first hurdle in its goal to win in the class of vehicles under 10 liters, and gain one of the top positions in the Modified Truck class. On the other hand, although Car 1 was driven by veterans, Yoshimasa Sugawara in his 26th consecutive entry and who put up a good fight showing a better CP2 (Check Point 2) time than that of Car 2, it had to stop as it encountered a powertrain trouble in the dunes in the latter part of the race. The crew suffered no injury, and they are working on the vehicle in order to arrive at the bivouac in San Rafael as of 7:00am (local time) on 8th. How Car 1’s trouble will be treated, whether they will be allowed to stay in the race, is undecided at this moment.
The SS on this day was a northerly course toward San Rafael in the Mendoza Province, with a distant view of the Andes. It seems that the real race has started, with the stage set to cross dunes or off-road areas over 40 km included in the latter part of the course. The Hino 500 Series vehicles, which raised their rankings in this stage considered to have the highest rank of difficulty, will challenge the 395-km SS from San Rafael to Mendoza, aiming steadily at achieving high positions.
|Mechanics waiting for the arrival of the Hino 500 Series vehicles at the bivouac.||Mechanics inspecting Car 2, which was first to arrive.|
|Mechanic Nakamura instructing his colleagues.|
Teruhito Sugawara (Car 2 Driver)
“Today, we had a left front flat tire before the CP1. Also, the last desert was dangerously high -- we were about to roll over a few times, and also got stuck on the ridge. The results of the day were so-so. We are convinced that Car 1 will also come through.”
Seiichi Suzuki (Car 2 Navigator)
“Perhaps due to high sand resistance, the water temperature went up again. We spent slightly longer than usual time repairing the tire when it became flat, fussing with the seal. It was really a hot day.”