Both HINO 500 Series trucks goal at Buenos Aires.
Brilliant one-two finish in the Under 10-liter category.
January 15th, the Dakar Rally 2011 rounded up its 15 days of competition which spanned a distance of approximately 9500 km, with contestants starting from Cordoba in Argentina racing through a 182-km SS, followed by a 150-km link route, and finally finishing in Buenos Aires. The SS for this day consisted of a high-speed course on mainly farm roads stretching from Rosario, a city located to the northwest of Buenos Aires, to the Zarate region. A gallery stage was erected at the goal for the SS which was set beside a river, attracting a large number of spectators and creating an exciting atmosphere.
HINO TEAM SUGAWARA, their two trucks, and their crew raced a solid race throughout this SS, with Car 2 piloted by Teruhito Sugawara and Seiichi Suzuki finishing at 16th and 4th places in the Trucks and Series Production Trucks categories, respectively, and Car 1 piloted by Yoshimasa Sugawara and Hiroyuki Sugiura, who maintained a consistent pace, coming in at 28th and 8th places in these respective categories. Later in the day, the two trucks, while being slowed down by traffic along the way, reached the liaison goal at the "Rural Palace" -- located in the city of Buenos Aires, and where vehicle inspections were carried out at the beginning of the rally -- at around 6:30 pm. The crew then delivered their trucks to the Parc-Fermes (vehicle storage area), officially completing the 9500-km, 15-day race for the team. Overall rankings for Car 2 were 9th, 1st, and 1st places in the Trucks, Series Production Trucks, and Under 10-liter categories, respectively. Car 2 came in at 13th, 3rd, and 2nd places in these respective categories. This meant that the team achieved its second straight win in the Series Production Trucks category, and a one-two victory in the Under 10-liter category. Once the official rankings are finalized on the night of the 15th, contestants will be recognized at an outdoor podium at the Rural Palace on the 16th.
Yoshimasa Sugawara: Today, I was somewhat conscious of my pace in order to maintain our position in overall rankings. After our withdrawal from last year's rally, I am happy that we have been able to achieve our first goal, which was to finish. In any case, today's course was a hazardous one where vehicles could pick up quite a bit of speed under extremely dusty conditions.
Hiroyuki Sugiura: To be honest, I'm relieved that it's finally over. What I found the most challenging were the huge dunes that were no comparison to what we'd come across in Mongolia. The pressure on the navigator was much greater than I had expected. I am grateful for the team as they have helped me make my dream of racing at the Dakar a reality.
Teruhito Sugawara: This year, from the very beginning, we focused on taking good care of the truck when driving, so we were able to come through essentially without a single problem. I'm happy that we were able to win championships in the Series Production Trucks and Under 10-liter categories; wins that were imperative for us. As for the rally itself, this was the toughest of them all.
Seiichi Suzuki: It's finally over. Today, we navigated courses where we would have to race extremely dusty straights for several kilometers and make abrupt right angle turns over and over again. I'm glad that both of our trucks were able to reach the goal without encountering any problems.