Twisty mountain course completed without event.
Full-blown competition kicks off at the 2011 Dakar Rally.
anuary 2, contestants traveled the section between Victoria and Cordoba. Competition for the 2011 Dakar Rally began in earnest at the 222 km SS (Special Stage) towards the last part of the stage. The SS for this day was almost the same as the course that lead to Cordoba last year, which was a single road with a hard gravel surface. Because most of this stage winds through twisty mountain areas, the road is narrow, which makes it difficult for vehicles to pass. There was little risk of taking a wrong turn in the course, but as evidenced by the increasingly slippery conditions caused by the rain that began to fall midway through the race and the many vehicles that slipped off course, this certainly was not a course that was suited for trucks. The SS for bikes and Quads took two shortcutsone at the 86 km point and another the 178 km point-and was 30 km shorter than that for other divisions.
HINO TEAM SUGAWARA, exercising no small amount of caution, completed this SS on their two HINO 500 Series trucks. Car 1 piloted by Yoshimasa Sugawara/Hiroyuki Sugiura, who raced at a deliberately cautious pace, finished this SS in 42th place in the truck division. Car 2 piloted by Teruhito Sugawara/Seiichi Suzuki completed this SS safely at 20th overall. The two trucks arrived undamaged at the bivouac long past sunset after 9 pm, and brought the team results that were in line with plans for the first day.
Yoshimasa Sugawara: This was a hazardous stage so I intentionally lowered our pace to get a feel for how things would go. My navigator, Hiroyuki Sugiura, and I work very well together so we have no concerns. In any case, I saw a large number of contestants in the top group stopped by the road.
Teruhito Sugawara: I feel that we've done everything that we had to and could do for the day. The rain had already stopped, but we came across extremely muddy conditions midway through the segment. I think the course was almost unchanged from last year. I am having a good time driving, thanks to the improved brakes and engine.
Seiichi Suzuki: There are absolutely no problems with the truck. It seems that the larger brake shoes are having a major effect. There weren't any navigation related problems, but the instructions we received from officials were very detailed.