Full of energy, the two HINO 500 Series make their start on January 1.
The Dakar Rally 2011 Argentina-Chile kicked off on January 1 in Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina. The starting ceremony was held at the Plaza de la Republica (Republic Square) at the center of Av 9 de Julio (9th of July Avenue), which is considered to be the world's widest road. Just as in 2009 and 2010, a large podium was erected in front of the obelisk in the plaza, and an estimated crowd of 300,000 people gathered under blue skies and a temperature reaching as high as 30єC. After having passed their vehicle inspections, 170 Bikes, 30 Quads, 140 Cars, and 67 trucks (camions) for a total of 407 vehicles lined up at the start line of this year's Dakar Rally. All divisions saw increases in the number of vehicles entered over last year, and entries in the truck division increased by 11, indicating the great popularity of the event. As such, the starting process turned out to be a major event that lasted for 6 hours. While the first two-wheelers left the podium (start platform) shortly after 3 pm, it was already around 7:30 pm by the time the two HINO 500 Series from HINO TEAM SUGAWARA appeared. As the first contestants to appear in the under 10-liter class, Cars 1 and 2, piloted by the Yoshimasa Sugawara/ Hiroyuki Sugiura, and Teruhito Sugawara/Seiichi Suzuki crews, respectively, came to a stop beside the podium, drawing a huge response from the crowd as the two vehicles were introduced as formidable regulars in this rally. After shaking hands with the organizers, the crew made their start, waving their hands at mechanics who were waving the Hino corporate flag. The 16-day Dakar Rally, traversing a distance of 9458km (of which Special Stages make up 4457km), has begun.The rally for this day consisted only of a liaison (untimed) section which takes the contestants to the first bivouac site in Victoria, 377km north-north-west of Buenos Aires. The race begins on January 2 with the 222km Special Stage which leads to Cordova.
Yoshimasa Sugawara: Happy New Year. I am very excited leading up to the start of the race and thinking of that the course will be like this year. My goal for this race is to not to withdraw no matter what. While the problems we faced last year were unfortunate, I would like to return to my beginners mind to produce good results, and not simply rely on experience. In any case, the first day is good for breaking ourselves in. I intend to keep an eye out on how things go and run a solid race.
Hiroyuki Sugiura: With this opportunity to navigate in this race, I will finally be taking part in the race of my dreams. I feel a good kind of tension. I am focused on doing my job as a navigator and aim to finish the race as the top in the under 10-liter class.
Teruhito Sugawara: I plan to race a mindful race, without causing undue stress on the vehicle, focusing on maintaining our pace. While there appear to be challenging sand dunes in the mid section of the race, if we are able to maintain a constant pace, I feel we will be able to position ourselves in the top group of the modified large vehicle class throughout the race.
Seiichi Suzuki: In addition to reducing the weight of Car 2 by 160kg, and modifying the outputs and cooling systems on engines on both trucks, I believe we have made solid improvements in our trucks' potential. I am excited to see how our trucks will tackle the tough South American sand dunes. I will be focusing on delivering solid performance one day at a time.