Car 2 Finishes Long 522 km SS at 12th Overall
Jan 19, 2018
Arrives at the last bivouac in San Juan without any problems
The rally is now in its final stages in Argentina. On Jan. 18, teams raced between Chilecito and San Juan on a two-segment SS with a total timed distance of 522 kilometers. HINO TEAM SUGAWARA's HINO500 Series Car 2 finished the SS at 12th overall in the trucks category.
The day's intermountain route that took contestants southward on the Andes foothills was set in the southern part of Fiambalá. With bumpy roads over rough and hard dirt, as well as fesh-fesh (terrain covered with fine powdery sand) that were extremely difficult to drive on and dusty, this segment pushed teams to the limits of their perseverance. Teams left Chilecito on a 163 km liaison and headed for the starting line of the first segment of the 288km SS in the Andes intermountain area. The SS ranged in elevation from 1800 to 3600 meters. This was followed by an 88 km neutral zone and then the 234 km second segment of the SS with a finish line set up in the outskirts of San Juan. They then traveled on an 18 km liaison to the bivouac in San Juan, all in all making this one of the longest stages of the event. Meanwhile, organizers canceled competition for the motorbikes category on their second stage of the marathon stages and the bikes arrived at San Juan via a liaison.
The Teruhito Sugawara and Mitsugu Takahashi crew piloting HINO TEAM SUGAWARA's Car 2 kept up their good form in this long stage. Other than experiencing a flat on their front-right tire in fesh-fesh, they had neither other setbacks nor any navigation problems. The crew completed the SS at 12th place overall for an accumulated overall ranking in 8th place.
Of all 44 trucks that started off from Lima on Jan. 6, only 27 remained to start this SS on Jan. 18. Based on provisional reports, the HINO500 Series truck is currently the only Under 10-litre Class truck still on the roster. While the team must remain absolutely alert since their 9th consecutive win in the Class depends on their finishing the rally, Car 2 remains on course for winning the Class championship and staging a good fight for a high overall standing against its larger rivals with 10 litre-plus engine displacements.
San Juan is the last bivouac of this event. Tomorrow, on Jan. 19, a 368 km SS is scheduled en-route to Córdoba. While an SS based out of Córdoba is scheduled for Jan. 20, the last day of the rally, tomorrow will essentially be the last day of serious competition. Given this, the team took extra care in inspecting and servicing their truck.
Teruhito Sugawara: We were on a roll so that flat tire was really unfortunate. It appears a dried tree branch in the fesh-fesh tore a hole on the side of the tire. It was a long day and we are tired, but I'm satisfied with the results.
Mitsugu Takahashi: I was probably in a rush during the tire change as I was surprised when I touched the bolt and it was hot. We had no navigation problems but it was a tough day as we had to endure the bumpy terrain.
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