Hino Trucks at the Dakar Rally 2012

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Yoshio Shirai Hino

Announcement of Entry in the Dakar Rally 2012 and Team-Supporters Rally is Held

On October 18, Hino Motors, Ltd. (Hino) held a press conference at company headquarters announcing that the company has been teaming up with Team Sugawara, directed by Yoshimasa Sugawara, to form HINO TEAM SUGAWARA and enter two HINO 500 Series trucks in the Dakar Rally.

Dakar Rally 2012

The Dakar Rally will be held from January 1 through 15, 2012, traversing Argentina, Chile and Peru in South America.

Present at the conference were members of HINO TEAM SUGAWARA as well as Hino president, Yoshio Shirai. The approx. 70 reporters at the conference were given a premiere showing of the two trucks, including one new racing truck that will be entering in the rally.

The new racing truck, which will be the first new truck in 8 years, is the result of an ambitious undertaking and was developed with the goal of clinching the championship in the Under-10L category, and achieving high rankings in the Trucks category where it faces larger competitors.

The conference continued well after the scheduled ending time as reporters posed technical questions one after another regarding the trucks on display, indicating the great interest in Hino's involvement in this rally.

In his opening message, Shirai stressed the significance of Hino's involvement in the Dakar Rally and cheered the team on.

Yoshio Shirai Hino

The significance of Hino's involvement in this rally first of all has to do with increasing consumer awareness of the Hino brand and growing it into a global brand. The next objective is to prove Hino's technological capabilities in a globally recognized proving ground.

And the third objective is to bring all relevant individuals and organizations together to work towards a common goal―that is, to enter and win in the Dakar Rally―and ultimately enhance teamwork.

Always in pursuit of his dreams, Yoshimasa Sugawara is now 70 years old. He will probably be the oldest of all racers in the upcoming race. Although the fight will not be easy, we are confident that he and his son, Teruhito Sugawara, who lead HINO TEAM SUGAWARA, will fulfill their goals in South America once again.

 Here in Japan, the Ishinomaki sales office of Miyagi Hino, which suffered severe damage from the Great East Japan Earthquake, opened its doors again on October 11, seven months after the disaster. One of the mechanics at this sales office, Yuya Inaba who is a disaster victim himself, will be taking part as a member of the team in this race.

He is committed to making things a little brighter for disaster victims by providing positive energy amidst their many hardships, and conveys his gratitude to the people of the world for their support by showing them the result of his and the team's hard work.

This time, I also plan to be at the finishing line. I hope everyone in the Hino group will extend their support to HINO TEAM SUGAWARA.

Up next on the podium was Yoshimasa Sugawara, who expressed his commitment as team leader and driver of Car 1.

Yoshimasa Sugawara

Our trucks have turned out great for this upcoming rally. Though the mood was quite loomy this year in the aftermath of the earthquake, my hope is to dispel some of this by showing people the hard work that we have put into this rally.

I am committed to cherishing the Japanese spirit, and taking these Japan-made Hino trucks to compete against our international competitors. As a matter of fact, they are formidable and we have information that some of the best will be competing in the upcoming race. Even so, my desire is to win against these strong teams and achieve as high a ranking as possible.

I'm now old enough to celebrate my 70th birthday, and next year will be the start of Hino's 21st year in this rally. I intend to continue to race for another 20 years so I would like to thank and ask you in advance for your generous support until I turn 90.

Next up was Teruhito Sugawara, the second son of Yoshimasa Sugawara, who used maps and photos to describe the characteristics of the Dakar Rally 2012 and gave an overview of the new racing truck.

Teruhito Sugawara

First of all, the course. This is the fourth time that this rally will be held in South America. The previous rallies coursed through Argentina and Chile, but this time, it will extend into Peru.

South America Dakar Rally

Mar Del Plata, the starting point of this race, is a famous resort, so the contestants will be starting off amidst the cheering of a large number of tourists. On the first day, there will be a 30-km SS along the coast and we have been informed that this will be a grueling course.

Next, we will be crossing the Andes Mountains where we will reach a maximum elevation of 4,500m in some places. While this elevation will be at a liaising point, some SS will have sections of 3,500m.

Then we will be moving on to the Atacama Desert, where we will be tackling dunes from day 4 to after day 10. In one of the final sections in Peru, a country we will be entering for the first time in the Dakar Rally, we will be tackling large Nazca sand dunes, some of which are reported to be huge. A large portion of this rally will be raced on sand dunes, and I personally expect this to be one of the most challenging courses we have ever raced on.

As for our vehicle, we have a new racing truck. Its engine was relocated to a mid-ship position for better front-rear weight balance, and its frame width was expanded to accommodate a larger engine.

The cabin was shortened to achieve a 50kg weight reduction. And as a result of exploiting all the new possibilities for truck fabrication in the new rally regulations, such as fabricating the sides of the rear body with canvas, we have been able to reduce the truck's overall weight by 300kg compared to last time.

Meanwhile, we have had many cooling-related challenges as it is summer in South America when the race is held. To address this issue, we have moved the intercooler behind the cabin, under the roof to improve cooling effectiveness. All these modifications were tested at the Rally Mongolia and proved to work well.

We take a multi-year approach in enhancing our trucks. This time will be the first year for our new truck. Even though the truck's transmission and axles have been carried over from our previous truck, we were able to shorten our time by 10%, indicating a solid improvement in racing performance.

While this will be the first rally for this new truck, as long as we are able to complete the race without withdrawing midway through, I'm confident that we will be able to achieve high rankings.

Our goal is to win the Under-10L class championship, and achieve high rankings in the Trucks category. Within 5 years, we hope to develop a truck that will make it into the top 5 in the Trucks category. I'm very much looking forward to this race as it will be a touchstone in our pursuit of this goal.

(Left) Shirai and HINO TEAM SUGAWARA are motivated to take on this race.
(Right) The press conference room was filled with a large number of reporters.

Team-Supporters Rally Held for the Dakar Rally 2012 Team

During the lunch break on the 18th, the same day as the press conference, a team-supporters rally was held at Hino's company headquarters for HINO TEAM SUGAWARA members. Present at the ceremony were about 200 individuals including representatives from various sponsor companies, as well as Hino group employees.

After a message from Shirai, both Yoshimasa and Teruhito Sugawara expressed their commitments for the race, and also gave participants a briefing on the race course and racing trucks, including their commitment to maintain the winning streak in its class and achieve high rankings in the Trucks category.

This was followed by comments from the navigators of Car 1 and 2, and the 4 mechanics. Closing words of encouragement were given by Akimasa Yamamoto, senior managing director and member of the board. Finally, all participants joined in three cheers of "Let's give it our all" led by Orikasa, general manager of the technical management division, as a prayer for HINO TEAM SUGAWARA's victory.

Shirai and HINO TEAM SUGAWARA

Shirai and HINO TEAM SUGAWARA are motivated to take on this race.

Hino media room

The press conference room was filled with a large number of reporters.

Akimasa Yamamoto, senior managing director and member of the board I would like to send encouragement to the team by way of three pledges. Firstly, we will all share in the excitement at the finishing line in Peru. Secondly, we will fully engage our technological capabilities to achieve good rankings through our teamwork and "human abilities," and thirdly, all of Hino will do its utmost to support these two pledges. I would like to express my support and encouragement through these three pledges.

Hiroyuki Sugiura, navigator of Car 1

I will be navigating Car 1 as I have in the previous race. I am committed to guiding our truck to the finishing line and achieving a higher ranking than we did last race.

Seiichi Suzuki, navigator of Car 2

We have a new racing truck that has greater potential than the last race. And the next race will reportedly be fraught with difficult sand dune sections. Our fog lamps are smaller this time, and I will do my best so that we can get back to camp while the sun is still out.

Mechanics:

Naoya Nakano (Hiroshima Hino), leader
All 4 of us are committed to working together to provide all the support that is needed for both trucks to finish the race.

Seiji Maeda (Aichi Hino)
I intend to give it my all and make this race a major milestone in the 20 years of my career.

Masahiro Nakata (Tokyo Hino)
I am committed to working with the other mechanics so that both our trucks are able to finish the race.

Yuya Inaba (Miyagi Hino)
I intend to do my best to bring good news to my hometown.

Yamamoto

Yamamoto encourages the team on behalf of all of Hino.

Hino Mechanics support hino dakar

Mechanics vow to provide full support.

support hino dakar 2012

The room rang with the powerful chorus of support.

The information included in this news article was up to date as of its time of publishing, and may be revised without notice.

  • The HINO vehicle referred in this news in relation to the rally is specially designed, tuned and
  • modified for the Dakar Rally, and most of its specifications are different from those of the HINO vehicles sold in the market unless otherwise specifically mentioned.

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