Hino trucks celebrate win at 2011 Dakar Rally
25 January 2011 | The Citizen
Hino competed in the Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally 2011 held from January 1 to 16, 2011.
Hino won the championship in the “Series Production Trucks” and “Under 10-litre” categories, and achieved 20 finishes in as many years, setting a new record for the number of consecutive finishes.
The only year they have been unable to finish was no fault of there own; in 2008 the rally was cancelled due to political unrest.
Hino entered this rally for the first time in 1991 – the first Japanese truck manufacturer to do so – and in 1994 and 1995, came second place overall in the trucks category. In 1997, Hino entered three trucks and became the first in the history of the Dakar Rally to achieve a 1-2-3 clean sweep in this category.
In subsequent years, Hino has won three second place titles in the trucks category and eleven championships in the under 10-litre category over the 12 races since the category was first introduced in 1996, making it a force to be reckoned with in the truck division.
Continuing from last year, Hino has teamed up with Team Sugawara – headed by Yoshimasa Sugawara who holds the record for the most consecutive entries in the Dakar Rally at 28 entries, and his son Teruhito Sugawara – and took part in this rally as the Hino Team Sugawara. Hino dispatched five mechanics that were chosen from Hino Motors and Hino distributors to meet the challenges of this rally and reflecting the concerted effort of the entire Hino group.
As a result, amidst the 68 entries in the trucks category – many of which were either specially developed for racing or so-called monster trucks that boasted nearly twice the engine displacement of the Hino 500 Series – Teruhito Sugawara won the championships in both the under 10-litre category and the Series Production Trucks category, and ninth place in the trucks category overall. Yoshimasa Sugawara won seconnd, third, and 13th places in these respective categories.
Hino is committed to continuing to deliver products and services that meet our customers’ needs by leveraging the fighting spirit and technological capabilities which have been accumulated over the two decades since first entering the rally.
“We are very happy with how we did in this rally as our rankings were better than what we had expected. Not only that, it was great to be in South America where the rally was actually being held and taking part in the excitement”, said Hino Chairman Shoji Kondo.
“For me, this has reconfirmed the importance of our activities. Being Hino’s 20th anni- versary of racing in this rally, I am convinced there is power in continuity. I am glad we were able to continue thus far, thanks in no small degree to the passion of Mr Sugawara and his team.”
Sugawara senior, who is Team Director and Driver, Car 1 had this to say of his son: “Teruhito ran a great race to achieve first place, and I was able to finish the race. As much as I’m surprised at these results, I’m satisfied.
“I am filled with gratitude for everyone’s support. Thank you very much. In any case, I didn’t think it would rain at the podium. I thought that was very South American.”
His navigator, Hiroyuki Sugiura, said “it was exciting with a lot of people cheering on. I would like to thank chairman Mr Kondo and senior managing director Mr Fujii of Hino who came to cheer us on. I consider this to be the starting point in developing myself further as a navigator.”
Mechanic Takashi Sanno, described their gruelling job: “I had an understanding of how things would be during the rally, where day and night would be reversed, but I struggled as I found it hard to recover from my exhaustion. In terms of work, however, we never had to perform any major work other than taking apart the brakes over and over again. I believe this was because the trucks were refined to near perfection.”
His colleague Hiroshi Hashiba agreed: “When I saw much lower trucks parked at the Parc-Fermes at the end of the rally, the fact this rally was being staged under extremely harsh conditions really sunk in.
As this was the second time for me at this rally, I think I was able to give advice to other mechanics on things such as how to set up at the bivouac.
I am exhausted, but all that exhaustion just gets swept away once I’m on the podium.
That feeling was the same as the last time.”
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