Race Report 2009
The Dakar 2009 was held for the first time in South America 18th consecutive participation and successful finish
The Dakar 2009 was held for the first time in South America, covering almost 9,600 km in Argentina and Chile from the 3rd to the 18th of January. Hino Team Sugawara which participated in the Dakar 2009 using two Hino 500 Series vehicles, successfully completed the rally, with Car 2 (with Teruhito Sugawara and Seiichi Suzuki) in 14th place in the Camion (truck) division, and Car 1 (with Yoshimasa Sugawara and Katsumi Hamura) in 26th place. Moreover, Car 2 placed 2nd among vehicles with an engine displacement of less than 10 liters. Hino Motors, Ltd. (“Hino”) is the only Japanese automobile manufacturer which has been continuously participating in the Camion division of the Dakar Rally, and it supported Hino Team Sugawara’s activities for this rally as well, by jointly developing the vehicles and dispatching mechanics to the rally site. This year marked its 18th consecutive participation and successful finish in the Dakar Rally, using the Hino 500 Series vehicles.
The Dakar Rally (formerly known as Paris Dakar) which initially began as a rally from Paris to Dakar in 1979, changed its location from Africa to South America for the first time in its 30-year history. This year’s rally lasted 16 days, and covered a loop course of almost 9,600 km to and from Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, through varied terrain including Patagonia, the mountainous areas of the Andes, and the Atacama Desert in Chile.Hino Team Sugawara changed its entry category to the Modified Truck class of the Camion division for this rally. It participated in the rally using two Hino 500 Series vehicles which were modified substantially to improve their front-rear weight balance -- by, for example, shifting the engine rearwards and elongating its wheelbase. The total number of entrants in the Camion division was 81, of which vehicles with an engine displacement of less than 10 liters accounted for 16, including the two Hino 500 Series vehicles.
The two vehicles gradually raised their standings after the rally started on January 3. Car 2 drove hard to stay in 11th position on the 7th, after they went through a difficult stage with dunes in which the compact Hino 500 Series vehicles excelled, and became the top vehicle among those with an engine displacement of less than 10 liters. However, Car 1, which drove more steadily than Car 2 up to the middle of the same day, got stuck in the dunes due to front differential trouble in the last part of the SS (Special Stage). It was extremely arduous work to dig a 7-ton vehicle out of the dunes, but the crew made an extreme effort to successfully extricate it from the sand; they arrived at Mendoza, the scheduled bivouac on the 8th, at around 8:00 p.m. on the next day. The vehicle continued the rally after it was quickly repaired by the seven mechanics sent from Hino group. However, its rank was lowered substantially, due to a time penalty of 100 hours added for their delayed arrival. The team decided that Car 1 would support Car 2 from that point on.
The vehicles entered Chile from Argentina after driving through the Andes on the 9th , and took a day of rest on the next day at Valparaiso before the started the latter half of the rally. They reached the climax of the rally in the Atacama Desert on the 12th. Although Car 2, positioned at 10th in the Camion division as of January 11, had made rapid progress placing them in 7th position in the Camion division up to CP3 (Check Point 3, an obligatory point) -- once on its way, driving steadily through dunes which Hino 500 Series vehicles were good at, it regrettably had to decelerate its pace due to sudden rear differential trouble. Car 2 decided to miss out a part of the obligatory GPS point (which resulted in a penalty) to arrive at the bivouac in Copiapo, as it had to rely on front wheel drive only. Although Car 2 was repaired by the mechanics working all through the night, the differentia trouble once again occurred on the 13th, and it arrived at the bivouac at around 4:00 a.m. on the following day by crossing the dunes once again on only front wheel drive. As the race on January 14 was cancelled due to the bad weather, Car 2, after it was repaired, moved to the next bivouac in Fiambala in Argentina with Car 1.
The rank of Car 2 once wend down to 2nd among the vehicles with an engine displacement of less than 10 liters, due to a 6-hour time penalty for not going through the GPS point on the 12th. However, it clocked in 10th place at the end of the SS on the 15th, the next day, which had the last dune in this rally; its overall standings also went back to 15th. The two Hino 500 Series vehicles continued for two more stages and safely reached the finish together in Buenos Aires on January 17. Both vehicles completed the rally-raid, and the final result for Car 2 was 14th in the Camion division, 2nd among vehicles with an engine displacement of less than 10 liters. Car 1 came in 26th and 6th in its class, respectively. 54 vehicles completed the rally within the Camion division (67% of those which started), among these 10 vehicles with an engine displacement of less than 10 liters.
Although they fell short of their original target of attaining top position among vehicles with an engine displacement of less than 10 liters, the team exhibited a high level of overall capability, particularly in how they tackled various troubles through superior teamwork on the part of the seven mechanics selected from Hino and its dealers throughout Japan. In addition, a substantial amount of invaluable know-how applicable to future vehicle developments was accumulated. Yoshimasa Sugawara, the Car 1 driver, marked his 20th consecutive race (the longest record in the Dakar rally history) and his achievement was highly praised by the rally organizer.
HINO TEAM SUGAWARA
Driver: Yoshimasa SUGAWARA
Navigator: Katsumi HAMURA
Driver: Teruhito SUGAWARA
Navigator: Seiichi SUZUKI
Yasushi NAKAMURA (Hino Motors, Ltd.)
Shigetoshi KUDO (Hino Motors, Ltd.)
Junpei MORITA (Hino Motors, Ltd.)
Eiji WAKABAYASHI (Chiba Hino Motor Ltd.)
Kazuto SUGIMOTO (Fukui Hino Motor Ltd.)
Kimihiro TAKEKAWA (Nagano Hino Motor Ltd.)
Mitsuhiro URABE (Kagawa Hino Motor Ltd.)
You can scroll horizontally
( ) under 10-liter cubic capacity of Camion Division