Hino, the only Japanese truck manufacturer to compete regularly against a field of trucks from Eastern and Western Europe in the gruelling annual Dakar Rally, maintained its proud finishing record in the 44th edition of this amazing race which finished in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on January 14. The record it built on is that at least one Hino truck has finished every one of the 30 Dakar Rallies staged since 1991.
Hino has finished in the top 10 of the truck category 25 times over the years, including finishing 1, 2, 3 overall in 1997.
However, this year Hino Team Sugawara had to be satisfied with 22nd position out of 33 finishers from an original field of 55 starters as the team dealt with a number of mechanical and electrical challenges as well as navigation problems. This resulted in a penalty of 22 hr. 30 min. which knocked the team back from a potential 16th position.
Teruhito Sugawara, the lead driver and team principal, was once again at the helm of the Hino and 2022 marked only the third time in 18 years as a driver that this talented Japanese wheelman has been out of the top 15 in overall classification. Teruhito navigated for his father the legendary Yoshimasa prior to becoming a team driver and has now taken part in 23 Dakar Rallies, finishing on each occasion.
Teruhito Sugawara had the same two team members with him this year as in 2021
consisting of navigator Hirokazu Somemiya and riding mechanic Yuji Mochizuki.
This year’s Dakar attracted a total field of 430 vehicles who competed over a route of 8 375 km between 1-15 January.
As in 2021 Hino downsized its Dakar team to just one truck due to the budget implications of the global covid pandemic. Adding to the challenge in 2022 was the fact that Hino’s Dakar racing truck for the first time featured a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain capable of producing more than 1 000 horsepower (794 kW). The 9-litre turbocharged diesel engine contributed 588 kW to the power output while the hybrid capacitor electric propulsion system added a further 206 kW.
The racing truck was based on the the unique, bonneted 600 Series model sold only in the United States. However, under this skin this four-wheel drive model is like the 500 Series Hino range sold in South Africa.
This year’s truck field of 55 trucks was one of the biggest in recent years and was made up of entries from 12 brands. The start/finish record of the various brands was: Kamaz – four finishers from four entries; Iveco – 12/17; MAN – 6/17; DAF 3/4; Tatra – 3/4; Scania – 1/3; Renault – 2/3; MAZ – 0/3; Mercedes-Benz – 0/2; Hino – 1/1; Praga – 1/1; and Ford Cargo 0/2.
“The 2022 Dakar Rally was very tough for the Hino Sugawara team, but we learned a great deal about operating a hybrid truck under these demanding conditions which will be of value in preparing our future entries for this event, as well as benefiting our customers in the long-term,”
concluded Team Principal Teruhito Sugawara.