Race Report 2001

Overall runner-up in the event marking the advent of the 21st century!


The curtain had been raised on the 21st century just a few hours earlier in Paris and things had not yet calmed down when the city was again engulfed in excitement in the early morning hours of January 1, 2001. It was the start of the Paris-Dakar Rally, an event that emblazoned the advent of the 21st century. The Paris-Dakar Rally that year represented a return to the original concept of a conventional course starting in Paris and ending in Dakar. Champs de Mars, adjoining the Eiffel Tower, bustled with the many spectators who had come to catch sight of the imposing figures of the adventurers. The TEAM SUGAWARA competed in this memorable event with the Hino Ranger equipped with diesel particulate filters (DPF), a new effort that aroused quite a reaction among those involved in the rally. The team organization was the same as the previous crew, consisting of driver Yoshimasa Sugawara, navigator Seiichi Suzuki and Teruhito Sugawara with manager Koichi Suzuki and air mechanic Junichiro Miyazawa dispatched from Hino Motors.

The Ranger started out from Paris on January 1, completing the Europe stage and crossing over to Morocco. On the fifth day, when the event started in earnest, it rose quickly to 4th place overall and the competition unfolded as it became locked in battle with four mid-ship high-displacement camions. The various teams experienced problems one after the other through several of the stages prior to the rest day due in part to the greater degree of difficulty imposed by the sand dunes. Though the Ranger suffered flat tires and other minor problems, the improvement of the suspension proved effective and, with good times repeated day after day, it rose to third place overall by the rest day. In addition, the Hino Ranger rented by the Toyota Team ARACO as an assistance car continued to perform excellently, finishing in fourth place overall in the first half.

As stages with a high degree of difficulty persisted during the latter half, the Ranger continued to demonstrate good driving performance with no notable problems and, ultimately, on the 13th day, it jumped ahead to second place overall. It also recorded excellent performance between Tichit and Nema, considered to be the final highlight of the rally, and crossed the goal in Dakar almost ten hours ahead of the third place winner.


1st truck: Yoshimasa Sugawara, Seiichi Suzuki, Teruhito Sugawara
Manager: Koichi Suzuki (Hino Motors)
Air mechanic: Junichiro Miyazawa (Hino Motors)

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Rank Number Driver Vehicle
1 425 K. Loprais Tatra
2 400 Yoshimasa Sugawara Hino Ranger
3 406 Reif MAN
4 414 Marcheix Mercedes
5 405 Pattono Unimog
6 410 Malferiol Unimog
7 420 Juventeny Mercedes
8 417 Bekx Ginaf

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