Car 2 comes in at 17th overall.
Car 1 also delivers solid performance for a fine finish.
On January 8, the fourth day of the race, Dakar Rally 2014 contestants raced on a 657km SS between San Juan and Chilecito, the longest SS of this race. The SS was split into two segments, on which the contestants would race the first half for a distance of 217km, then travel for 157km on a paved neutral zone, and then take on the 284km segment of the second half (the SS distance announced by the organizers includes the neutral zone). Again, the course was primarily gravel, passing through highlands in the 3400m range in the second half, with a 30km stretch of sand dunes in the last portion of the SS.
Car 2 piloted by the Teruhito Sugawara/Hiroyuki Sugiura crew
While this year's special segments appear to be relatively long, the proportion of sand dune stages seem to be smaller. Starting this day, the starting order of the Cars category was consolidated with the Trucks category (trucks had been starting after cars up to this point), so the Trucks will be starting earlier from here on. This means that there will be more occasions of Cars and Trucks encountering each other on the course. This had been the original format of Dakar Rallies of the past, so in a sense, we are seeing the beginning of full-blown competition as we move into these longer SSs.
Speaking of HINO TEAM SUGAWARA's HINO500 Series trucks, Car 2 crewed by Teruhito Sugawara and Hiroyuki Sugiura tipped over yesterday, but the damage was minor. Car 1 underwent some adjustments to its suspension settings, and both trucks were fully up to speed as they took off again today. Right out of the gate, Teruhito Sugawara and Hiroyuki Sugiura proceeded at a brisk pace on Car 2, and finished the first half of the SS in 21st position. The crew improved their position even further in the second half, coming in at 17th in the Trucks category overall, and top in the Under 10-litre Class. Yoshimasa Sugawara and Katsumi Hamura on Car 1 also maintained a solid pace, finishing the first half in 35th position, and completing the SS at 33rd. As a result, both Cars 1 and 2 moved up again in accumulated rankings in the Trucks category overall to 15th and 29th place, respectively, and maintained their 1-2 standings in the Under 10-litre Class.
Car 2 had already arrived at the bivouac in Chilecito by the time of this writing. There have been no problems with the truck, so the mechanics will be carrying out some adjustments to suspension settings along with other servicing tasks. Car 1 has had no problems either and is en route to the bivouac. The team awaits its arrival as it carries out servicing tasks on Car 2. The race is coming up to the climax of the first half. Once again on January 9, the contestants are scheduled to race on a long SS stretching 527km between Chilecito and Tucuma.