Mid-rest day:Team Prepares for More Taxing Second Half. Truck is fully refreshed during the rest day.
Jan 11, 2021
Seiichi Suzuki and Shun Konnai repair the rear body
HINO TEAM SUGAWARA inspects and services their truck at the bivouac in Ha'il
Dakar 2021 had its rest day on Jan 9 in Ha'il in the north central part of Saudi Arabia at a bivouac set up adjacent to a regional airport. Located in an intermountain area at an elevation of 1000 meters with a view of distant ridge lines, Ha'il is the provincial capital of the region, a city where Dakar teams also made a stopover last year.
HINO TEAM SUGAWARA mechanics worked until 2 am on their HINO500 Series truck, starting in the evening of Jan 8 when it arrived at the bivouac.
With temperatures dropping to frigid levels after sunset, mechanics resumed early in the morning, servicing and repairing the truck throughout the day under occasional drizzles that fell again this day. In addition to performing daily inspections and servicing, the rest day was packed with things to do including front and rear leaf spring replacements and oil changes that were pre-scheduled for the day, as well as repairs to the rear body that was damaged in the tip-over accident on Jan 5. Still, by the night of Jan 9, the truck was fully refreshed and the team was ready to take on the second half of the rally.
At the end of the first half, the Hino Ranger/HINO500 Series truck crewed by Teruhito Sugawara, Hirokazu Somemiya, and Yuji Mochizuki was positioned at 14th place in overall accumulated rankings in the Truck Division, and top spot in the Under 10-litre Class. While they are currently in the process of making up time lost in the accident, expectations are that the crew will improve their position further from here. That being said, it is also true that trucks in the leading pack are stepping up their pace.
The team continues to be fully committed to their goal of clinching their 12th straight win in the Under 10-litre Class, and finishing the Truck Division at a high overall ranking.
Jan 10 will test teams with the first marathon stage of the event where crews will have no access to their assistance squads as they race a 471-km SS en route to Sakaka. Accidents or other problems in this stage can hugely disrupt current standings because, for the two days before they reach Neom the following day, crews will have to make do with only the tires and replacement parts they carry on board their vehicles. This is likely to be the first of the demanding stages of the second half of the event.
We are ready to go all out in the second half as we were able to bring the truck back up to perfect condition. Our rivals have been making upgrades to their cab suspensions and other areas to enhance their driving speeds over gaps and rough terrain compared to last year, so our only game plan is to race error-free at 100% of our pace. Whatever the case, we will be giving it our best.
My physical condition is up to snuff after the rest day, so I will make sure to provide solid navigation for the rest of the rally starting tomorrow. If we come across sections with more rocks, we can expect the cab to vibrate more intensely and that can make it difficult to read the digital roadbook, so I need to stay on top of things.
Today, I repaired the wiring on the data logger that we damaged in the tip-over accident. We should be able to gather data again starting tomorrow. While we had some heavy servicing to do today, we are all feeling good. I will give it my best in the second half because the days ahead are likely to be decisive.
Tadaaki Satoh overhauling the reduction hub
Mechanic Koji Yoshikawa seen here inspecting brakes
Teruhito Sugawara relaxes at the bivouac
Mechanic Mayumi Kezuka prepares to make an oil change