Hino delivers at Dakar Rallyv
Hino, the leading Japanese truck manufacturer and the first one from that country to enter the gruelling Dakar Rally, way back in 1991, registered its 24th consecutive finish in the 2015 edition of this gruelling, annual cross-country race which finished in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 17 January.
The two-truck Hino Team Sugawara once again had a 100% finishing record and scored a 1-2 in the Dakar Challenge for trucks with engines of less than 10 litres capacity, making it six consecutive class wins and the second year in a row with them being first and second in the class.
This was the 15th time Hino has won this engine capacity award in the 16 times it has been contested since 1996.
Two Mercedes-Benz Unimogs crewed by Italian teams were third and fourth in the class this year. They were 39th and 40th overall and more than 44 hours behind the class-winning Hino. The Hinos finished 16th (Teruhito Sugawara and Hiroyuki Sugiura) and 32nd (Yoshimasa Sugawara, Yoko Wakabayashi and Katsumi Hamura) overall out of the 42 trucks which completed the route of 8161km, including more than 3500 km of timed racing sections. A total of 64 trucks had entered this year’s event.
“We are pleased and proud at yet another display of outstanding reliability and durability by these two Hino trucks in the toughest regular test for this type of vehicle in open competition in the world,” commented the Vice President of Hino South Africa, Ernie Trautmann.
“The two, four-wheel drive Hino 500-Series trucks entered by Hino Team Sugawara were once again the only representatives from the Japanese truck industry to participate in this two-week marathon across some of the world’s most desolate regions. The strong performance also served to underline Hino’s competitive spirit and technological resource,” he added.
What makes the Dakar Rally a David and Goliath contest in the truck category is the fact that the Hino uses production-based six-cylinder intercooled turbocharged engines of less than 10-litres, while most of its rivals are in the ‘monster’ category with much larger capacity engines developed specifically for this annual race. The President of Hino Motors Limited, Yasuhiko Ichihashi, was at the finish of the Dakar for the first time to welcome the two, triumphant crews and said it was a moving experience. It was a great result for the crews, the Hino employees from the company and a few dealers in Japan who had supported them. This year both trucks were fitted with the Hino 9-litre common rail A09C-T1 turbo-intercooled engine which developed 630 horsepower. The only major problem encountered by the two trucks was a leaking radiator in Teruhito’s No. 2 truck, probably caused by a flying stone, on the second day which caused a significant time loss.