The Dakar 2009 Race Report (Stage 7, January 9)
The first half of the race is finished -- entering Chile using a connection due to aggravated rainy condition.
Mendoza (Argentina) to Valparaiso (Chile)
We drove from Mendoza in Argentina, crossed the border into Chile, and drove on to Valparaiso. Although a 419-km SS was planned at the outset, only the Camion division was cancelled due to aggravated road surface conditions by heavy rain. Races for bikes and cars were held over a shorter distance. Due to this change, the two Hino 500 Series vehicles of Hino Team Sugawara drove approximately 800 km to safely arrive at the bivouac at Valparaiso – they finished the first half of the race. Tomorrow is a rest day, and no race will be held. The seven Hino mechanics are scheduled to go through thorough vehicle inspection and services this evening, in order to prepare for the latter half of the race.
Yoshimasa Sugawara (Car 1 Driver)
“We did not do the SS on the 8th after getting out of the trouble on the 7th, we assume there will be some kind of penalty, but we do not know what it will be yet. We will, in any case, try to do our best in the latter half of the race, as well.”
Katsumi Hamura (Car 1 Navigator)
“Navigation was not so difficult in the first half of the race, but the courses were severe. We will be braced for difficult courses from here on out. ”
Teruhito Sugawara (Car 2 Driver)
“It is good to be 10th overall finishing the first half of the race, but there are many rival vehicles that have the potential to catch up with and overcome us. Our vehicle is in good condition, we will continue to strive hard.”
Seiichi Suzuki (Car 2 Navigator)
“Fortunately, we are holding a steady course, but the dunes here in South America are different, heavier, and more difficult to drive than the dunes in Africa. The course is terrible when it rains, so we just cannot afford to relax.”
Yasushi Nakamura (Hino Mechanic)
“As our mechanics’ fatigue has also started to accumulate, we will do only certain preparations, such as mud removal from the vehicles’ undersides, today. We will start our major vehicle service items tomorrow morning. The areas around the front differential in Car 1 have already been replaced, so we want to perform a thorough check of Car 2. ”
|Crew members at the finish of the first half of the race.||The two Hino 500 Series vehicles lined up side by side for servicing at a bivouac in Valparaiso.