Stage 7 : Car 1 finishes 11th in the longest 546 km SS of the event, climbing to 10th place in general ranking.
Jan 15, 2020
Jan12: The second half of Dakar Rally 2020 is on, with contestants competing between Riyadh and Wadi Al-Dawasir in Saudi Arabia. The SS (timed section)―the longest in this year's event at 546 km―was set in a desert area to the south of the capital city of Riyadh. Most of the course was made up of relatively high-speed road surfaces on a plateau, interspersed with a number of short dune sections along the way. HINO TEAM SUGAWARA's Car 1 (HINO500 Series) crewed by Teruhito Sugawara/Hirokazu Somemiya/Yuji Mochizuki delivered stunning performance, finishing the SS at 11th place overall in the trucks category. Based on this result, the truck moves up one place in general rankings to 10th place overall.
The stage started on a 128 km liaison out of Riyadh and took contestants southwest to the start line situated in the hills at an elevation of about 700 m. With dunes repeatedly appearing along the sandy off road up-and-down terrain, trucks were often able to hit the 140 km/h mark which is the upper speed limit for trucks. Having had its exhaust train fixed during the interim rest day, Car 1 sustained no tire punctures nor was it ever bogged down, eventually crossing the SS finish line in 5 hours and 20 minutes. The truck then took a 67 km liaison to arrive at its bivouac in Wadi Al-Dawasir.
Meanwhile, Car 2 (based on the HINO600 Series for the North American market) piloted by the Ikuo Hanawa/Yudai Hanawa/Mayumi Kezuka crew―which dropped out of competition due to a problem early in the race and continues its journey under the organizer's "Dakar Experience" program for those who have been excluded from awards―tipped over on its right side on a dune slope at the 270 km point. The truck fortunately suffered only minor damage and was able to reach the finish line after it was turned back up with help from a truck driving behind them.
On Jan 13th, a 477 km race is scheduled on the second loop course of the event which will be based out of Wadi Al-Dawasir.
Teruhito Sugawara (Driver, Car 1)
I was able to drive comfortably on today's high speed stage. Even though they say it's high speed, I didn't feel that the risks were that high since regulations place a 140 km/h speed limit on trucks. I think things will start to get more difficult starting with the loop course tomorrow so I will stay on my toes.
Hirokazu Somemiya (Navigator, Car 1)
We had no tire punctures and things went really well. In terms of navigation, all I had to do was indicate the cups (directions) and we finished error-free today. Our teamwork is also getting better in the second half. I will carefully check the road book for tomorrow and make sure we finish error-free.
Yuji Mochizuki (Navigator, Car 1)
We were able to finish with no problems or errors, thanks to the maintenance we performed on the rest day. I'm getting used to using the CTIS (Central Tire Inflation System) to the point where I'm able to make adjustments based on the looks of the road surface before Mr. Teruhito tells me to. I've also been assisting with navigation and things are going well.
Ikuo Hanawa (Driver, Car 2)
I changed our line on a slope to avoid a depression and that's when we slowly tipped over. My lack of experience with dunes and trucks showed. It was rather pathetic.
Yudai Hanawa (Navigator, Car 2)
I was more amazed than surprised when we tipped over as the truck started to lean over like it was slow motion. After that, we were able to make it back to the bivouac, taking over the truck that helped us out.
Mayumi Kezuka (Navigator, Car 2)
By the time the truck that helped us came along, an hour had gone by from when we tipped over. In terms of damage, we made a dent on the right side of the truck's body and the intercooler was deformed, but we will have those fixed and do our best again for the rest of the rally.