Car 2 Delivers Impressive Performance. Moves Up to 13th Overall in Accumulated Rankings.
The course to Tucumán is shortened due to safety concerns.
On January 9, Dakar Rally 2014 took the contestants from Chilecito to San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina. Again, the SS for this day was long and featured a neutral zone midway. The racers were scheduled to travel on a 154km liaison route from their bivouac in Chilecito, race on the first half of the SS on a 211km mountain route, then proceed on to a 111km neutral zone, and finally race on the 205km course of the second half of the SS. However, due to temperatures hitting 47ºC, organizers canceled the entire second half of the SS for the Bikes category.
Car 1 piloted by the Yoshimasa Sugawara/Katsumi Hamura crew
The second half of the SS for the Cars and Trucks categories was shortened to 107km with the finish line pulled back to checkpoint 1 (CP 1) for the same reason and due to concerns that their arrival at the bivouac could be considerably delayed otherwise. The first half of the SS featured a short sand dune section and an off-road section with rough sandy terrain. The second half took the contestants through grueling hill climbing sections reaching elevations approaching 3000m. As such, this SS proved to be a challenging one for all teams.
With suspension adjustments made to the truck the previous day working out well, HINO TEAM SUGAWARA's HINO500 Series truck Car 2 and its crew, Teruhito Sugawara and Hiroyuki Sugiura, put up a good fight in the searing heat of this SS. The truck started in 17th place and finished the first half at 15th, ultimately finishing the day at 13th overall beating out many of its outsized rivals. Yoshimasa Sugawara and Katsumi Hamura on Car 1 also delivered a solid race finishing at 32nd overall. As of this day, Car 2 and Car 1 have moved up to 13th and 25th place, respectively, in accumulated overall positions. The trucks also maintained their solid lead in 1-2 positions in the Under 10-litre Class.
On January 10, the teams will take on a stage set between Tucumán and Salta, Argentina, which will be the final stage for the first half of the rally. While the SS is relatively short at 260km, it is not unusual for organizers to set up tricky and/or difficult segments the day before the rest day. To ensure that the trucks are kept in their best condition, the Hino team is busy carrying out thorough inspections at the bivouac that is set up in a horse race track on the outskirts of Tucumán.
Teruhito Sugawara: This year's Dakar Rally is a test of patience and perseverance. I think everyone is over-pacing themselves so I've got a feeling that more vehicles will be dropping out of the race as it climaxes during the second half. It was very hot today but we had no water temperature issues, and the air conditioner worked well, maintaining a comfortable temperature in the cabin. We have one more day till the first half of the race concludes, and things are going as we had planned.
Hiroyuki Sugiura: The roads were twisty today and I was kept quite busy, especially in the first half of the SS. Having said that, navigation went pretty well. I'm feeling good physically and ready for the race tomorrow.