Rest day: Team completely refreshes its trucks on their rest day in Riyadh with the aim of climbing further up in rankings in the second half of the rally.
Jan 14, 2020
Jan 11: Dakar Rally 2020 teams have their interim rest day in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. There was no competition this day so the crews rested and prepared for the second half, while mechanics kept busy inspecting and servicing their racing vehicles. The bivouac was set up in a huge parking area on the outskirts of the city. The area was used as the paddocks for the FIA Formula E, an EV race held in November 2019, and the road markings from this event could still be seen on the ground.
HINO TEAM SUGAWARA's mechanics worked until midnight after their trucks arrived at the bivouac on the evening of Jan 10, and resumed work early in the morning the next day. In addition to making the scheduled front leaf spring replacements, the team was also busy overhauling the reduction hubs and other drive train components, as well as repairing the exhaust train that sprang a leak in the Jan 10 stage, so there was much to do this day. The trucks have now been fully refreshed and the team is ready for the second half of the rally.
HINO TEAM SUGAWARA's Car 1 (HINO500 Series) crewed by Teruhito Sugawara/Hirokazu Somemiya/Yuji Mochizuki is ranked at 11th place overall in the trucks category as of the end of the first half. Their time difference with the leading group is still small, and the team will continue to make every effort in the second half to finish near the top in general rankings.
Teruhito Sugawara (Driver, Car 1)
We will be heading out to areas with soft sand in the southern part of the country in the second half, and we expect to be racing a succession of difficult stages. In particular, the round-trip stage between Haradh and Shubaytah on the 14th and 15th will be a marathon stage where we will not have our assistance squad―team unit that travels from bivouac to bivouac on a separate route to provide support for racing vehicles―available at the bivouac, so this is likely to be the most difficult stage of the entire rally. We will capitalize on our HINO500 Series' excellent mobility and aim for a finish near the top.
Seiichi Suzuki (Mechanic, Japan Racing Management)
The gasket on the turbine side of the turbocharger was damaged, but the manifold itself was OK. The rest of our work had to do with scheduled replacements so I don't think this was on the heavy side in terms of our rest day workload.
Kengo Takasugi (Mechanic, Ken. Factory)
My main responsibilities are to repair and replace FRP components, but we haven't run out of any spare parts so far. It's tough being a mechanic in the Dakar but I will give it my best.
Koji Yoshikawa (Mechanic, Japan Racing Management)
A week has gone by in the Dakar Rally. It's been a lot tougher than I imagined, and there is so much to learn.
Koki Seino (Mechanic, Hino Motors)
This was the first Dakar Rally for me in a long time, and it's as severe as I remember it to be. The problem with Car 2 was unexpected but I suppose that's what the Dakar Rally is all about. Our ability as a team also relies on the highly skilled mechanics from Hino dealerships. Our aim is to finish the race safely by coming together and giving it all we've got.
Masataka Nishiyama (Mechanic, Hino Motors)
The week just flew by and I'm getting used to the rhythm on site. The difference in day and night temperatures is large and I didn't expect the nights to be so cold. I hope to see our trucks deliver a solid performance to the finish line.
Shinji Kitagawa (Mechanic, Hino Motors)
It's cooler here in Saudi Arabia than in South America so that's a good thing. In the first half, Car 1 encountered quite a few problems, including trouble with its turbocharger and its spare tire dropping off. My emotions are mixed when I think that this will be over in a week.
Ryo Ishii (Mechanic, Hino Motors)
I was responsible for changing the oils and grease today. Dakar in the real world has been tougher than I thought and I'm starting to feel it in my lower back. I'll do my best because this is a year of learning for me.
Yasunori Nagata (Mechanic, Higashi Hokkaido Hino Motor)
One week into the event, I'm getting used to the pace of the actual Dakar Rally race, but it's tough traveling in the morning. That being said, the winters in Obihiro Hokkaido are colder.
Keisuke Watanabe (Mechanic, Gunma Hino Motor)
It felt like a long time leading up to the start of the race, but the week just flew by once it started. I can even sleep with the loud snoring from Mr. Watanabe from Tokyo Hino.
Yasuhumi Watanabe (Mechanic, Tokyo Hino Motor)
The rear body dropping off of Car 2 was totally unexpected. That was a disappointment, but that's what races are about.
Koichiro Hoshijima (Mechanic, Okayama Hino Motor)
There have been a lot more heavy servicing tasks than I expected and I am tired to be honest, but I'm having a great time regardless. These rally trucks are structurally quite different from production trucks, but that hasn't been a problem because I've been involved from the truck building process.
Team members enjoy the delicious "Kantsuma" snacks provided