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STAGE6: Truck and Crew Finish the First Half in Great Shape. Crew puts on a good fight in tough SS finishing at 11th place.

The HINO team goes over servicing details

The HINO500 Series truck will be receiving part replacements on rest day

On Jan 8, the sixth stage of the event was held between Al Qaisumah in central Saudi Arabia en route to Ha’il in the northern part of the country.
HINO TEAM SUGAWARA’s HINO500 Series truck crewed by Teruhito Sugawara, Hirokazu Somemiya, and Yuji Mochizuki finished the 347-km SS (timed section) at 11th place overall in the Truck Division.
The crew took the liaison that followed the SS to the bivouac in Ha’il, concluding the first half of the race without event.

Because the SS the previous day was exceedingly demanding and many racers were late to arrive at Al Qaisumah, organizers decided to delay the start of the Jan 8 stage and shorten its timed section. Teams first took a 265-km liaison westward back to Qiba’, the finish point of the previous day and also the start point of the day’s SS which would take them to the outskirts of Ha’il.
The SS — originally set at a driving distance of 448 km — was shortened to 347 km by connecting the 239-km and 351-km points by an 11-km bypass to get around the winding route that would have originally connected these points.

The road surfaces of the SS were basically sand. Teams were met with small dunes early in the race, and this was followed by sections with sandy ground, hills and bumpy sections before they reached two separate dunes sections that were highly challenging to cross.
The crew applied the HINO500 Series truck’s characteristic mobility to surmount these sections. Delivering stellar performance finishing at 11th place for the day, the crew’s truck climbed to 14th place in overall accumulated Truck Division rankings as of today, the turn-around point halfway through the race.

Teams will have a rest day tomorrow on Jan 9 at Ha’il.As soon as the HINO500 Series truck arrived at the bivouac set up adjacent to an airfield, the team’s mechanics wasted no time getting to work to service the truck to top shape for the second half of the race.

Teruhito Sugawara
Most of the surfaces in this stage were sand, and I don’t know if this was by design, but there were long bumpy sections that kept us from picking up speed.
Some dunes were like sheer walls but we dealt with these well by driving around them. In terms of time, our sense is that we are racing at 100% of our pace. I get the feeling that the leading pack is starting to race faster at this point.

Hirokazu Somemiya
We didn’t come across any areas that were difficult navigation-wise because the stage was mostly dunes. Organizers shortened the SS but the liaisons were still long. I’m feeling tired now that we’ve finished the stage.

Yuji Mochizuki
That ends the first half of the race. I thought we were going to have to withdraw from the race when we tipped over on day 3 so I’m happy that we were able to continue. I will also stay on top of gathering our drive data too.

Mayumi Kezuka and Yuji Mochizuki load the collected data

The team’s HINO500 Series truck arrived at the bivouac in Ha’il a little past 6:30 pm

Teruhito Sugawara is in great shape after concluding the first half of the event

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