Race Report 2015

Dakar Rally 2015 Culminates at the Finish Line in Buenos Aires.
HINO500 Series trucks make a 1-2 finish in Under 10-litre class for their 6th straight championship.

2015, 36th Dakar Rally 2015 Argentina-Chile-Bolivia


Hino Motors teamed up with Team Sugawara, headed by Yoshimasa Sugawara, to form “HINO TEAM SUGAWARA” and entered two HINO500 Series vehicles in the Trucks category of the Dakar Rally 2015 held in Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia from January 3 to January 17. At the end of this grueling 14-day rally, the team won the championship in the Under 10-litre Class and posted its 24th straight finish in the rally since its first entry in 1991.


For this rally, both of the team’s trucks were powered by improved versions of the A09C-TI engine, which had been mounted on Car 1 in the previous year’s rally. The team also made major upgrades to the trucks’ suspension to compete with racing trucks capable of much greater performance. Car 1, driven by Yoshimasa Sugawara, was navigated by veteran Katsumi Hamura and additional navigator Yoko Wakabayashi. For the third straight year, Car 2 was crewed by ace driver Teruhito Sugawara and veteran navigator Hiroyuki Sugiura. The assistance crew was joined by Katsuyuki Nagoshi from the Engine Engineering Division of Hino Motors as the team’s engineer. The crew of mechanics was led by Seiichi Suzuki from Japan Racing Management, the team’s parent organization, with Takeshi Suenaga from Hino Motors’ Vehicle Planning & Production Engineering Division filling the role of sub-leader. The four mechanics, chosen from among the best and brightest from Hino dealers nationwide, were Hironaga Hayashi (Hakodate Hino), Shunsuke Sugawara (Tokyo Hino), Hiroya Fukuno (Yokohama Hino), and Takashi Masuda (Hiroshima Hino).


For the first time in four years, Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina, served as both the start and finish line for the race. The rally took contestants on an 8159-kilometer loop traveling clockwise through Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia, of which SSs made up 3750 kilometers. The Trucks category, instead of traveling into Bolivia, underwent a marathon stage in the Iquique region of Chile during which they were prohibited from receiving any support from their assistance crew.

On the second day of the rally, Car 2 sprang a coolant leak when its radiator was damaged by a flying stone in the SS en route to San Juan, Argentina. Luckily, the truck was able to receive support from Car 1, who had caught up from behind. Although this caused Car 2 to fall back to third place in the Under 10-litre Class as it had to replenish coolant every so often, it blasted forward the next day to clock the best time in the class and reclaim its top spot. With this, Car 2 was able to establish a solid 1-2 position together Car 1 which was also performing very well.

Thanks to their upgraded suspension, the HINO500 Series trucks were able to improve their speed over hard and rough terrain, which had proved to be quite the challenge for previous iterations of these trucks. The trucks were also able to leverage the power of their A09C engines to reduce their time differences with top contenders in the overall Trucks category that were powered by larger engines. In the first half of the rally on January 11, Car 2 advanced to 11th place for the SS of the day, improving its accumulated overall ranking from 19th to 17th. The leading pack proved to be a formidable bunch and the team found it more difficult to improve their positions in the second half of the rally, where there were fewer dune sections. Despite this, both crews heightened their focus to maintain a solid 1-2 position in their class. Thanks to the perfectly concerted efforts of the mechanics―who had hardly been getting any sleep at all―neither of the trucks experienced any problems that could have had a significant impact on the race. Overall, Car 2 finished 16th and Car 1 finished 32nd in Buenos Aires on January 17.

With this result, Car 2 pilot Teruhito Sugawara became the winner of his sixth straight championship in the Under 10-litre Class. Along with Car 1 driven by Yoshimasa Sugawara, at 73 the oldest driver in this year’s race, the trucks achieved a 1-2 finish for the second year in a row. Flying in from Japan for the podium celebration was Yasuhiko Ichihashi, president of Hino Motors, who enthusiastically shook hands with all of the crew members. This concluded the 14-day battle for this year, with the team quickly setting their sights on the next rally and how they can build on what they learned to improve their rankings even further.


「HINO TEAM SUGAWARA」 Dakar Rally 2015 Team Member

Car 1
Driver: Yoshimasa SUGAWARA
Navigator: Katsumi Hamura / Yoko Wakabayashi

Car 2
Driver: Teruhito SUGAWARA
Navigator: Hiroyuki Sugiura

Mechanic leader: Seiichi Suzuki
Mechanic sub-leader: Takeshi Suenaga, Hino Motors, Ltd.
Hironaga Hayashi, Hakodate Hino Motor, Ltd.
Shunsuke Sugawara, Tokyo Hino Motor, Ltd.
Hiroya Fukuno, Yokohama Hino Motor, Ltd.
Takashi Masuda, Hiroshima Hino Motor, Ltd.

Engineer: Katsuyuki Nagoshi, Hino Motors, Ltd.

Route Map

Route Map

Special Stage (SS): 3,750km
Liason: 4,400km
Total Distance: 8,159km (Only for the truck division)

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Date Stage Start Finish Liason SS Total
Jan 3 Start Ceremony. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Jan 4 SS1 Buenos Aires Villa Carlos Paz 663 175 838
Jan 5 SS2 Villa Carlos Paz San Juan 315 331 646
Jan 6 SS3 San Juan Chilecito 258 284 542
Jan 7 SS4 Chilecito Copiapo, Chile 594 174 768
Jan 8 SS5 Copiapo Antofagasta 239 458 697
Jan 9 SS6 Antofagasta Iquique 370 255 625
Jan 10 SS7 Iquique Marathon Stage 101 335 436
Jan 11 SS8 Marathon Stage Iquique 0 271 271
Jan 12 Rest day in Iquique
Jan 13 SS9 Iquique Calama 88 451 539
Jan 14 SS10 Calama Salta 501 359 860
Jan 15 SS11 Salta Termas de Rio Hondo 326 194 520
Jan 16 SS12 Termas de Rio Hondo Rosario 726 298 1,024
Jan 17 SS13 Rosario Finish Ceremony. Buenos Aires, 219 174 393
TOTAL 4,400 3,759 8,159

Number of Entrants

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Entrants Finish Completion rate
MOTO 164 79 48%
QUAD 48 18 38%
AUTO 138 68 49%
TRUCK 64 51 80%
TOTAL 414 216 52%

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