One of the stories missed in the coverage of the recent Dakar Rally is that of Yoshimasa Sugawara, who was competing in the race for the 32nd time. At 72 years old, he was competing in a development truck for Hino, coming in second, in the under 10 litre truck class.
Simply finishing the gruelling 9,200 km event after thirteen days struggling through the Andes Mountains and deserts in Argentina and Chile is a great achievement for the Dakar veteran, competing as part of the Hino team, in their 23rd successive year in the rally.
Yoshimasa’s son Teruhito Sugawara was the winner of the under 10 litre truck class, coming in 12th overall in the truck division. Both father and son came home in their Hino 500 trucks, and their one-two result saw Hino win this class of the truck rally on the fifth successive occasion.
72 year old Yoshimasa was driving an experimental truck using the newly developed Hino AO9C 8.9 litre engine. This engine has a phenomenal 600 hp at its disposal from the relatively small capacity engine, 115 hp more than the engine used in the Hino 500 which won the 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 the race. “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.”
One of the features used to improve performance over the length of the rally was an adaptation to the common rail fuel injection system to improve parameters in the control unit to take account of changes brought on by competing at altitudes of over 3000 metres. These changes give the driveline more torque over a wider rpm range.