Cars 1 and 2 at 13th and 27th Overall at the End of the First Half
Trucks arrive at Salta after a 156km SS.
On January 10, Dakar Rally 2014 contestants raced on the final stage of the first half of the race between San Miguel de Tucumán and Salta, Argentina. Car 2, the HINO500 Series truck entered by HINO TEAM SUGAWARA, finished the SS at 26th position overall, and Car 1 finished 7 minutes and 12 seconds behind Car 2 at 40th place. As a result, Car 2's ranking in the overall Trucks category remains unchanged at 13th, with Car 1 ranking at 27th place. They continue to maintain their 1-2 position in the Under 10-litre Class at the end of the first half of this rally.
Car 2 piloted by the Teruhito Sugawara/Hiroyuki Sugiura crew
The SS for the day took contestants on a 156km course through the Andes Mountains. The SS for the Cars category consisted of two sections with a neutral zone in the middle. The Trucks category raced only on the first section of this SS, after which they took a liaison route to the bivouac in Salta. The course primarily featured mountain roads with hard gravel surfaces, posing relatively little challenge to the racers.
Car 2 driven by Teruhito Sugawara is the final version of the racing truck that the team has been developing since 2011 in a 3-year project. It is also the final and culminating version of HINO500 Series trucks powered by the J08C engine that Hino has been entering in the Dakar Rally since 1996. The truck's racing performance has solidly improved over the years through output upgrades to its engine and suspension modifications. Expectations are high that the truck will continue to move up in rankings as the race is expected to climax in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Yoshimasa's Car 1, powered by the newly developed A09C engine, also continues to deliver solid performance. Making its debut in this race, the team sees the truck as a test case in many respects. With daily improvements being made on the field to its suspension settings, engine control parameters and a variety of other factors, the truck gives the team a very important opportunity for gathering invaluable information for developing future iterations.
On January 11, the teams will be taking a day off at the bivouac in Salta. Today, due to the scorching daytime heat, Hino team mechanics began their servicing and inspection tasks soon after the trucks arrived so that they will be able to complete all planned servicing during the cool after-dusk hours
Yoshimasa Sugawara: We're close to getting optimal suspension settings and it's starting to feel good. The new engine is very and makes the truck comfortable to drive. We intend to maintain our 2nd place position in the Class throughout the second half of the race.
Katsumi Hamura: The course today was not as difficult as yesterday's. I feel energized and will be giving it my all
Teruhito Sugawara: Our truck is turning out just as we had planned. It feels like it's got even more leeway for us to push it. The real race for us starts in the second half. Much depends on the course, but I don't think a position in the top 10 is unrealistic.
Hiroyuki Sugiura: The truck is faster so I have to work faster as a navigator to keep up. I'm getting a hang of it, but it is intense.