Race Report 2000
5th successive class victory on the first African transcontinental route!
2000 - PARIS-DAKAR-CAIRO
The first African transcontinental route in the history of the Dakar Rally was set up to launch the momentous year of 2000. Although only the starting ceremony was held near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the vehicles were then shipped by ferry to Dakar where the rally competition actually began. The Hino Ranger entered the event that year as the private effort of the TEAM SUGAWARA. In the eventful tenth year of participation in the competition, a fully capable team, though of minimum size, set off for the pyramids of Egypt with a crew made up of driver Yoshimasa Sugawara and navigators Seiichi Suzuki and Teruhito Sugawara with the addition of air mechanic Yoshimitsu Yaguchi of Hino Motors.
The Ranger, which left Dakar on January 6, proceeded smoothly over the twisting course overgrown with vegetation and, on the second day, it promptly recorded the second fastest time and got off to a good start in the opening phase, making inroads among the top three in the lead. However, upon ending the first long stage of more than 500km and arriving at the bivouac in Niamey on the sixth day, the team was shocked to hear news of a possibe major terror attack against the rally. Prompted by this, the organizer TSO announced a temporary suspension of the competition and implemented an air transport tactic to Libya, which guaranteed safety. As a result, five days of stages in the rally were cancelled.
Although the event resumed at Sabha, Libya, on January 17, following five days of inactivity, there were a mere seven stages remaining. The Ranger, in fifth place at this time by a meager margin, aimed to advance into the top ranks on the sand dunes of Libya and Egypt. The sandy hills, a specialty of the Ranger, did not appear, however, and, instead, extensive deserts where horsepower decides the match continued on and the large-displacement camions gradually pulled out ahead. Though the Tatra in sixth place steadily inched closer, the team desperately defended their fifth place positioning in overall standings through a burst of activity and reached the goal in front of the three great pyramids of Giza with the fifth straight victory in the class.
First truck: Yoshimasa Sugawara, Seiichi Suzuki, Teruhito Sugawara, Air mechanic: Yoshimitsu Yaguchi (Hino Motors)
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