The stages in Argentina, which make up the first half, have now been completed. Tomorrow, we move onto Chile where we will be facing the climax of this rally.
January 3 was another day with rainy and slippery conditions that resulted in many vehicles crashing. HINO TEAM SUGAWARA finished this day without event with Cars 2 and 1 improving their overall rankings to 1st and 3rd place, respectively, in the under 10-liter category. Arriving at the bivouac in San Miguel de Tucuman at approximately 10 pm on the night of the 3rd, both trucks underwent inspection and maintenance procedures that centered around making changes to rear stabilizer settings and brake tuning to prepare for their journey to San Salvador de Jujuy on the 4th.
This SS route closely skirted the Andes Mountains as it winded northward to Jujuy on the last day of stages in Argentina. The SS for the Bikes and Cars categories consisted of two parts with a neutral zone in between. For safety reasons, the Trucks category did not race the latter part of the section and headed for the bivouac via a link route. Although this made for a short SS at 226km, it was packed with features that exemplified Dakar Rallies held in South America including how the trucks started at an elevation 1800m, traveled through sandy terrain in the first half, and climbed a mountain pass to elevations of up to 2700m, eventually reaching the goal of this segment. After the SS, the trucks traveled a route that crossed mountains at elevations of 3378m and reached Jujuy, covering a total distance of 634km for the entire segment.
During this SS, the two HINO 500 Series from HINO TEAM SUGAWARA fully leveraged the excellent mobility that is intrinsic to the HINO 500 Series. Car 1 piloted by Yoshimasa Sugawara and Hiroyuki Sugiura ran a solid race in the SS, coming in at 28th place in the Trucks category, 5th in the Series Production Trucks category, and 2nd in the under 10-liter category. Car 2 piloted by Teruhito Sugawara and Seiichi Suzuki caught up with Car 1 early in the SS and tailed directly behind to come in at 29th in the Trucks category, 6th in the Series Production Trucks category, and 3rd in the under 10-liter category.
With these results, Car 2 came in at the overall rankings of 19th, 5th, and 2nd in the Trucks, Series Production Trucks, and under 10-liter categories, respectively. Car 1 came in at 27th, 7th, and 3rd in these respective categories. While neither truck had arrived at the bivouac in Jujuy as of the 10 pm deadline for this posting, Hino's five mechanics were standing by to perform extensive inspections and maintenance work on the trucks to prepare for the stages in Chile that begin tomorrow.
Takayuki Monma: It appears both trucks traveled together today. They are probably taking a longer time because the link routes for trucks are longer. I think they are doing fine as we have not heard of any problems.