Teams Enter Bolivia, the Second Host Country, on a Highland Stage Set at 4000+ meter Elevations.
Jan 12, 2018
Car 2 finishes the first half of the race at 6th place in overall accumulated rankings, and top spot in the Under 10-litre Class.
Organizers took into consideration the 25-minute delay that Car 2 sustained on Jan. 10 from a car blocking their way, and the SS finish position of the HINO500 Series truck crewed by Teruhito Sugawara and Mitsugu Takahashi was corrected from 12th to 10th. There was no change in accumulated rankings from this correction.
This day, contestants raced the final day of the first half of the rally. Starting off from Arequipa, Peru, they crossed the border into Bolivia, the second host country. En route, they competed on a 312 km SS that was set in the first 4000 m-class highlands of this year's rally. The HINO500 Series truck finished at 16th place overall.
The course from Arequipa to La Paz, Bolivia's capital city, was set on a mountain route along the southern side of Lake Titicaca. Following a 132 km liaison, contestants raced a 118 km SS―the last SS in Peru―and traveled through a 238 km neutral zone where they crossed the border along the way. Once in Bolivia, they raced a 194 km SS before taking a 76 km liaison to the bivouac in La Paz, making for a long day of driving totaling 758 km. The SS in Peru started off at an elevation of 4500 m and at one point reached 4700 m, the highest point of the SS. This was followed by 3800+ meter highlands all the way through to the finish line in Bolivia. ＊While the road surfaces near the coast up until the day before consisted mainly of hard surfaces or rocks, the rain had created some muddy areas this day. Some spots were extremely slippery and this called for extra caution on the part of driving crews.
The HINO TEAM SUGAWARA crew on the HINO500 Series truck raced this long stage with calm aplomb. The truck finished at 16th place overall as the crew remained diligent against flat tires on hard surfaces and stayed away from navigating errors. While their accumulated ranking fell to 6th place from this result, they continue to maintain the top position in the Under 10-litre Class.
Tomorrow, Jan. 12, teams will have a rest day in La Paz. When the HINO500 Series truck arrived at the bivouac after 10 pm, the team's mechanics who had been on the ready wasted no time to thoroughly refresh the truck, showing no signs of weariness from the all-nighters that they had been pulling day in and day out.
Teruhito Sugawara: Today's SS was the first one at high elevations, and we had no problems at all thanks to the oxygen generators we used during the race. Our current position is in line with what we had planned for the end of the first half. We will be up against mountain roads from here on so we will make sure to take even better care of the truck's body.
Mitsugu Takahashi: Navigation-wise, things were simple compared to the dunes we have been racing on until yesterday. I concentrated on reading out the road book accurately in sync with Mr. Teruhito's speed. I think I'm much more used to his speed now.