HINO

Stage 12: Car 1 finishes the final stage at 15th overall. The truck comes in at a general ranking of 10th overall and clinches its 11th straight win in the Under 10-litre Class.

Jan 20, 2020

1_4.jpgCar 1 driving through sandy off road.

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The final stage of Dakar Rally 2020 was held on Jan 17 between Haradh and Qiddiya, Saudi Arabia. After the teams crossed the finish line in Qiddiya, a finish ceremony was held at the same location.
HINO TEAM SUGAWARA's Car 1 (HINO500 Series) crewed by Teruhito Sugawara/Hirokazu Somemiya/Yuji Mochizuki finished the final SS set in the area near Haradh at 15th place overall in the trucks category. This result brings them to 10th place overall in final general rankings, and hands the team its 11th straight win in the Under 10-litre Class.

The final SS which came after the 131 km liaison out of the Haradh bivouac was a short one at 167 km. While the course was not difficult and mainly consisted of off road sections, racers were also met with dunes along the way. After this, teams moved on to Qiddiya near the capital city of Riyadh on a 117 km neutral zone, and arrived at the goal venue in the area. An integrated leisure resort is slated for construction in Qiddiya as well as an F-1 circuit. Competitors then raced the 13 km "Qiddiya GP"―the closing spectacle of this event―before appearing on the goal podium. This GP was an unofficial competition section so racing times were not reflected in competition results.

Car 1 arrived at the podium after 4 pm. Teruhito Sugawara and crew received their trophy on the podium and responded to the cheering crowd along with team mechanics and staff members, marking the end of the team's two-week battle.

After its relocation from South America to Saudi Arabia, Dakar Rally 2020 was the first event to be held here. With organizers proclaiming the opening of chapter three in the history of the Dakar Rally―the first two being its years in Africa and South America, respectively―the stages were set on terrain and climate reminiscent of North Africa that brought back memories of the Dakar Rallies of days gone by. The difficulty levels of the courses were not that high as competitors were spared the high altitudes and massive dunes such as found in South America. Of the 144 bikes, 23 quads (four wheel bikes), 83 cars, 46 SSVs (small buggies) and 46 trucks―a total of 342 racers―that started out of Jeddah, 96 bikes, 12 quads, 57 cars, 31 SSVs and 28 trucks made it to the finish line in Qiddiya. The overall finish rate was 65.5%, higher than the 57.8% rate of the previous event.

Teruhito Sugawara (Driver, Car 1)
We came up against tough and punishing situations in taking on this challenge on new terrain in Saudi Arabia. Although we had difficulties such as the trouble on Car 2, I'm happy with the results that we were able to deliver.

Hirokazu Somemiya (Navigator, Car 1)
I'm happy that I was able to carry the baton (that was passed on to me from the navigator before me). Things were tough during the race, but I was able to relax in the comfortable environment that our staff prepared for us at the bivouacs. I would definitely like to race in this rally again if I get the chance.

Yuji Mochizuki (Navigator, Car 1)
I feel a bit sad now that we are over the finish line. I think I was able to fulfill my responsibilities as a mechanic in this event, but I've still got much more to go. My desire to take on this challenge again has grown stronger.

Seiichi Suzuki (Mechanic, Japan Racing Management)
This was the first Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia, but I think we had fewer problems than when the event relocated to South America. We're over the finish line so now we will be transporting the trucks to Jeddah for shipping.

Koki Seino (Mechanic, Hino Motors)
This was the first Dakar Rally for me in about 20 years, and I was reminded how tough the on-the-scene work can be. I was anxious because we didn't know what to expect until the very end. But I think we were able to accomplish as much as we have thanks to all the mechanics doing what they came here to do.

Masataka Nishiyama (Mechanic, Hino Motors)
It was disappointing that Car 2 had to withdraw from the race, and I'm honestly relieved that Car 1 safely made it to the finish line. For myself, I can say that I did everything in my ability.

Shinji Kitagawa (Mechanic, Hino Motors)
I'm glad that Car 1 finished the rally safely. My impression is that we all pushed ourselves close to our limits and that's how we managed to pull it off. Mr. Mochizuki, who was on the team as a mechanic in the previous Dakar Rally, was the navigator on Car 1 and his presence was very encouraging.

Ryo Ishii (Mechanic, Hino Motors)
This rally lives up to its reputation as being the world's most grueling. I'm honestly tired, but I feel a great sense of accomplishment too. I intend to build on this experience and do my best in whatever I do going forward.

Yasunori Nagata (Mechanic, Higashi Hokkaido Hino Motor)
I feel sorry that we weren't able to bring Car 2 back to the finish line. The first half of the race was tough because I had trouble sleeping, but I gradually adjusted and had more breathing room in the second half. I think we worked really well together with great teamwork.

Keisuke Watanabe (Mechanic, Gunma Hino Motor)
The rally was much trickier than I thought and I realized that this was no simple rally. It was unfortunate that Car 2 had to withdraw, but I'm happy that we were all able to work together to bring Car 1 to the goal podium.

Yasuhumi Watanabe (Mechanic, Tokyo Hino Motor)
Heartbreaking is all I can say about Car 2 not being able to finish the race. The decision to retire the truck was made due to cracks that were found in its roll bar. The fact that there were no other problems with the truck made things that much more regrettable.

Koichiro Hoshijima (Mechanic, Okayama Hino Motor)
The first half was tough for me. My body adjusted in the middle stages but things generally were much tougher than I imagined. That being said, being on the site was a lot of fun.

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Driver Teruhito Sugawara is all smiles after crossing the finish line without event.

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Mechanics are also relieved at the ceremony after the finish.

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