10th straight win in under 10-litre class for HINO TEAM SUGAWARA in Dakar Rally 2019

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJanuary 24, 2019

Hino Motors, Ltd. teamed up with Team Sugawara, led by Yoshimasa Sugawara as HINO TEAM SUGAWARA, and entered two HINO500 Series trucks in the trucks category in Dakar Rally 2019.

Driver Teruhito Sugawara won the class championship in the under 10-litre class of the trucks category, rewriting the team‘s record of straight class victories to 10. Meanwhile, with the top group dominated by trucks running on engines with 10-litre-plus displacements, the medium-duty HINO500 Series truck finished in 9th place overall in the trucks category thanks to Teruhito Sugawara‘s exceptional driving skills and wealth of rally experience.

The HINO500 Series truck Car 2, driven by Teruhito Sugawara, clinched its 10th straight win in the under 10-litre class.

“We fought on our new truck against the larger trucks that have consistently dominated the top group,” said Teruhito Sugawara. “While we did notice some new issues, we were also able to identify some areas where we could do things differently going forward. We can‘t stay in the game by merely aiming to finish the race just because the course was tough. I think we need to keep taking risks in our racing to make our way into the top group.”

The HINO500 Series truck Car 2 drives through the finish gate with Hino president Yoshio Shimo and mechanics on its roof.

Driver Yoshimasa Sugawara, the ‘Ironman of Dakar‘ at 77 years of age, was forced to pull out early in the race in Stage 2 after his truck’s steering system gave out. Yoshimasa Sugawara has been racing the Dakar Rally since his first stint in 1983 on a motorcycle in what was then called the Paris-Dakar Rally, and joined the Hino team in 1992. He has continued to race and extended his world record of straight starts in the Dakar Rally to 36.

“I‘m very disappointed at having to withdraw from the race two years in a row,” said Yoshimasa Sugawara. “I am as grateful for all the support I‘ve received as I am sorry for these results. That being said, I‘m very glad that Car 2 won its 10th straight win in the under 10-litre class. That gives me some relief,” he said, applauding his son’s performance.

This year also marked Hino’s 28th consecutive finish in the rally since 1991 when it became the first Japanese manufacturer of commercial vehicles to race the rally. Hino president and CEO Yoshio Shimo flew in to join the award ceremony on 17 January.

“Our team delivered solid performance over tough terrain to clinch our 10th straight class victory. This winning streak is certainly a win for the entire team. I would like to thank everyone for their hard work. It was too bad how things turned out for Car 1, but we look forward to how our driver Yoshimasa Sugawara does next year. We hope to make even more upgrades to Car 2 for next year‘s race.”

Hino president Yoshio Shimo celebrates with driver Teruhito Sugawara (right) and navigator Katsumi Hamura (left).