Rest day in Arica in the northern most area of Chile Team carries out thorough inspections and maintenance, and is fully prepared for the second half of the rally.
January 8th was rest day for the 2011 Dakar Rally at Arica, a town in the northern most area of Chile. Overall rankings for HINO TEAM SUGAWARA's two HINO 500 Series trucks at the end of the first half of the rally were: Car 2 piloted by Teruhito Sugawara and Seiichi Suzuki at 11th, 2nd, and 1st in the Trucks, Series Production Trucks, and Under 10-liter categories, respectively, and Car 1 piloted by Yoshimasa Sugawara and Hiroyuki Sugiura at 13th, 3rd, and 2nd in these respective categories. Starting tomorrow, January 9th, through the 12th, contestants will be facing 4 stages featuring challenging dunes, including another stage in the Atacama Desert, and one in the "White Desert" near the Antofagasta region. As such, HINO TEAM SUGAWARA took full advantage of this rest day to fully refreshen their trucks to aim for even higher positions over the second half of the rally. The five mechanics selected from Hino motors and dealers nationwide began work early in the morning replacing parts that were scheduled for replacement, and repairing outer body components that had been damaged in dune stages. In the afternoon, the team received a visit from Hino distributors, their associates, and press crew from across the border in Bolivia who came to give encouragement to the team and gather news, making for a very cheerful atmosphere at the bivouac.
The Arica-Antofagasta segment that contestants will be facing tomorrow passes through parts of the Atacama Desert again. While this SS consisted of two sections in the original plan, organizers have decided to cancel the 252-km second section, so the SS now consists of only the first 273-km section. This may work to the advantage of HINO 500 Series trucks as dunes are mostly concentrated in the first section, and the second section, which has been canceled, is where vehicles primarily compete for speed. The crew and mechanics were again gearing themselves up mentally for the race tomorrow.
Yoshimasa Sugawara: Yesterday, we got stuck at the top of a dune and damaged the truck's outer body. In any case, we are well positioned ranking-wise, so I will be maintaining my concentration for the second half, the crucial stages of this rally.
Hiroyuki Sugiura: I'm starting to get a hang of navigation. We're told that there are challenging dunes ahead of us, and I'm ready to turn these challenges into opportunities for us to improve our rankings.
Teruhito Sugawara: The next 4 stages starting tomorrow will be very tough. The theme that I've set for myself in this rally, "Drive mindfully but quick," is no easy feat to accomplish, but I'm committed to sticking to it and deliver solid results. In any case, what I can say for sure is that both our trucks are in good shape.
Seiichi Suzuki: In stages throughout the second half of this rally where power will not be the only game clincher, I'm looking forward to challenging our larger rivals, taking full advantage of the excellent mobility of the HINO 500 Series trucks and our collective experience. Currently, our truck's body and chassis are in fine shape.
Takayuki Monma: We are dealing with a few minor challenges, such as brake lining wear, but we have not had any major setbacks in completing our maintenance procedures on the rest day. First-time mechanics are getting a hang of the work, and while we are a bit tired, we are still full of energy. My general sense is that our trucks appear to be taking more beating than they have last year.