Even after getting bogged down in quicksand in the early part of the Stage 11 rally, Hino Team Sugawara’s Car 2 was able to break free and maintain their 8th position in overall standings. As tomorrow’s final rally itinerary is only 64km, there is little chance that position standings will change. So in effect, today’s SS was the last day of racing for the teams.
The first half of the January 13 SS took contestants 114km from the Andean foothills of San Juan, Argentina to a 367km neutral zone where the challenging topography varied from desert terrain to dunes of fine dust-like sand. The second 173km long SS traversed mountain roads that transitioned into high-speed piste in an area that organizers have included in past courses.
Hino Team Sugawara’s two HINO500 Series trucks continued to deliver strong performances in this SS with Car 2, crewed by Teruhito Sugawara and Hiroyuki Sugiura, able to make up time despite losing ten minutes getting stuck in powdery sand. Meanwhile, the Car 1 duo of Yoshimasa Sugawara and Mitsugu Takahashi sacrificed some time exercising extra caution in the sandy segments.
“Although we didn't get bogged in the dunes in the first half, we took more time than we would've liked to, and as a result, we came in just 10 minutes under the maximum time restriction,” commented Car 1 driver Yoshimasa Sugawara on today’s rally.
January 14 marks the end of Dakar Rally 2017. After racing their last SS near Rio Cuarto, teams will take a long 700km liaison to the finish line in Buenos Aires. For the mechanics, tonight will be the last night of inspections and servicing in the competition.