Hino has claimed its fifth successive class victory in the intensely competitive Dakar Rally and committed to chasing an even better result next year.
Father and son team Yoshimasa and Teruhito Sugawara brought their Hino 500s home first and second in the Under-10 litre truck class of the 9200-kilometre, 13-day event run through the Andes Mountains and deserts of Argentina and Chile.
Teruhito Sugawara powered his 485hp eight-litre Hino 500
His 72-year-old father Yoshimasa, known as the Iron Man of Dakar, finished second in the category testing a new 8.9-litre Hino in preparation for the vehicle’s full assault next year.
The Sugawara team has earmarked the 2015 Dakar to claim a top-ten position as well as maintaining their class dominance.
The winning vehicle used the eight-litre JO8 engine which powers the majority of Hino’s medium duty 500 Series trucks while the development vehicle used the newer 8.9-litre AO9C unit available in the top end of the Hino 500 Series range.
Hino has entered, and finished, the Dakar Rally for 23 successive years and uses the knowledge gained from this experience to improve the quality, durability and reliability of its production vehicles.
Hino Team Sugawara cooperates closely with Hino Motors and senior technicians and engineers form part of its service crew.
Teruhito Sugawara’s lead truck escaped this year’s Dakar relatively unscathed despite tipping on its side in a crevasse on stage three of the 13-stage event, and (like most competitors) losing time through tough navigation challenges.
The winning truck used a common-rail injection upgrade and engine control unit developed in 2013, enabling engineers to purpose-tune it for altitudes exceeding 3000 metres in the Andes. One of the goals was to deliver greater torque over a broader rev range.
A combination of low atmospheric pressure and hard slogging through deep sand dunes puts immense pressure on cooling systems.
Improvements successfully trialled in the Dakar Rally include new axles equipped with hub reduction mechanisms to increase ground clearance and terrain-crossing ability, and new disc brakes.
Sugawara-senior’s development vehicle delivers 115hp Series race truck to 12th outright in the truck division, up from 19th in 2013 when he also won his class. more than the race-winning Hino and is regarded as a strong chance to challenge far larger trucks in the outright class at the 2015 event.
“I took part in this year’s Dakar rally as a test driver for our new truck, and I’m very happy with the results,” said Yoshimasa Sugawara after competing in his 32nd Dakar.
“I am particularly moved by the fact that my son and I were able to achieve a 1-2 finish in the Under 10-litre class.”
Teruhito Sugawara said the character of the Dakar Rally continues to evolve.
“It was once an adventure, but it has now become the world’s most gruelling sprint race,” he said.