Stage 6: Teams reach Saudi capital Riyadh after a long 830 km stage.Car 1 climbs to 11th place overall to wrap up the first half.
Jan 14, 2020
Jan 10: Dakar Rally 2020 took contestants on a 477 km SS en route from Ha'il to Riyadh, followed by a liaison to Riyadh, the Saudi capital. HINO TEAM SUGAWARA's Car 1 (HINO500 Series) crewed by Teruhito Sugawara/Hirokazu Somemiya/Yuji Mochizuki delivered impressive performance again this day, finishing the SS at 11th place overall in the trucks category and climbing to 11th place in accumulated overall rankings. Time differences are still small and we can expect the team to up the ante in the second half to close in on the leading group.
At a total distance of 830 km, this was a long stage for the teams. The SS (timed section) started in an intermountain area at the end of a 177 km liaison out of the Ha'il bivouac. It mainly consisted of unpaved roads with ups and downs over sandy ground with a number of low lying dunes interspersed along the way, and featured numerous sections where crews were able to race at relatively high speeds. Car 1 was the 11th truck out of the start line but was unable to up its pace due to a leak in its exhaust train. The truck fell back to 16th place at the 57 km point, but thanks to creative driving, gradually climbed back up again to finish at 11th place.
The truck then took another liaison 176 km long to reach the bivouac in Riyadh at around 7:30 pm. Car 2 (HINO600 Series for the North American market) piloted by the Ikuo Hanawa/Yudai Hanawa/Mayumi Kezuka crew―which continues its journey under the organizer's "Dakar Experience" program for those who have been excluded from awards―also arrived at the Riyadh bivouac trouble-free.
There will be no racing on Jan 11 and teams will have a day of rest here in Riyadh. As soon as the trucks arrived, the team's mechanics went ahead with their thorough inspections and servicing tasks, as well as pre-scheduled parts replacements.
Teruhito Sugawara (Driver, Car 1)
The truck sprang an exhaust leak soon out of the start line and we weren't able to get the torque we needed. The SS today was relatively high-speed-oriented so I compensated with my driving all the way to the finish line. Our time difference with the leading pack isn't large so the second half of the rally will be the highlight of our battle. I'm sure there will be opportunities to capitalize on.
Hirokazu Somemiya (Navigator, Car 1)
I was impressed by the beauty of the dunes today. This could be because I'm starting to feel a bit more relaxed. I will continue to do my best so that we can race faster.
Yuji Mochizuki (Navigator, Car 1)
The boost pressure would not rise due the exhaust leak, so Mr. Teruhito covered for that with his driving. Tomorrow is rest day so we are going to fix this problem properly and prepare for the second half of the rally.
Seiichi Suzuki (Mechanic, Japan Racing Management)
We're scheduled to replace the front leaf springs, but since these components are subject to the organizer's checks for seals, we intend to complete everything only up to the disassembly steps tonight. We also found a crack in the exhaust manifold so we will be repairing that carefully.