After a strong start, including completing the third stage in top position, the Hino 500 Series truck finished the 3000-kilometre race in third place in the four-wheel division, which included cars.
Team Sugawara sees Rally Mongolia as the ideal proving ground for the Dakar event, and after testing the refined 500 Series truck at the Hino Hamura facility in Japan prior to the rally it was pleased with its strong performance in a race environment.
“There were three points that we wanted to verify in this rally: the truck’s mobility gained from its higher engine output, suspension settings, and improvements in the truck’s terrain traversing performance gained from changes made to tyre specs,” said driver Teruhito Sugawara.
“We noticed these effects in a variety of situations, and got a good feel for the truck’s improved performance … it was truly a great accomplishment for the team to reduce our time by nearly 10 per cent.
“We are committed to further maturing our truck based on the findings made in Rally Mongolia and preparing ourselves to achieve high rankings in the Dakar Rally,” he said.
Teruhito’s father and Team Sugawara director Yoshimasa also got amongst the action at Rally Mongolia by taking out his fourth-straight victory in the Suzuki Jimny class.
His involvement in the race as a competitor gave him a unique perspective on the performance of the Hino 500 Series truck.
“The truck made it to several checkpoints in first place so I was pleasantly surprised at how much faster it had become,” Yoshimasa said.
“This year, development engineers from Hino Motors actually came to Mongolia before the rally to conduct various tests with the team.
“That the team and developers were able to share a common vision for the actual truck in a real-life setting was definitely a step in the right direction,” he said.
At the 2014 Dakar Rally Team Sugawara will attempt a fifth consecutive Dakar Under 10-litre class win for the Hino 500 Series.