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HINO DAKAR TEAM HEATING UP FOR EIGHTH WIN IN THE DESERT

Hino Team Sugawara is chasing a record eighth successive class victory in the 2017 Dakar Rally beginning on 2 January.

The two-truck team will race through the South American desert, setting off from Acunción in Paraguay and finishing in the Argentinean capital of Buenos Aires on January 14.

Hino Team Sugawara is chasing a number of records in the 2017 Dakar Rally, including its 26th straight finish and eighth straight victory in the Under 10-litre class.

The Hino Team Sugawara 4x4 rally trucks are loosely based on the medium-duty Hino 500 Series.

The team line-up consists of father and son drivers Yoshimasa and Teruhito Sugawara, with navigators Mitsugu Takahashi and Hiroyuki Sugiura and a carefully selected team of Hino dealer mechanics and support personnel from Fukushima Hino, Ishikawa Hino, Okayama Hino and Hiroshima Hino.

Seventy-five-year-old Yoshimasa Sugawara, team director and driver of Car 1, enters as the oldest competitor and is chasing a record 34 Dakar Rally entries.

"We'll be renewing our determination because people will be watching us, not only in Japan, but also from around the world," Mr Sugawara said.

Hino Motors Senior Managing Director Taketo Nakane expressed his confidence in the Dakar team.

"[These are] some very important records. We know the team will be able to leverage the results of its summer training camp and give the rally its best, leaving nothing to regret."

At a recent send-off party for the team in Japan, Hino Motors president Yasuhiko Ichihashi reiterated the value of the Dakar campaign to Hino research and development.

"It is essential that the vehicles we produce provide excellent levels of quality, durability and reliability, and that we are able to offer services that reduce downtime as much as possible," Mr Ichihasi said.

"By taking part in the Dakar Rally, the world's most gruelling rally, we have continued to hone our truck production and servicing capabilities."

Upgrades to the two trucks include further engine, chassis and suspension upgrades based on feedback from the 2016 Silk Way Rally, which served as a testing and shake-down opportunity for Hino Team Sugawara.

Key specifications of the two 2017 Dakar Rally Hino trucks include a 8,866cm3 direct-injection turbocharged and intercooled engine matched to a six-speed direct-drive gearbox with high-low range switching.

The A09C-TI engine in its race specification outputs 478kW of power at 2200rpm and 2255Nm of torque at 1200rpm.

The wheels are forged aluminium with Michelin tyres and a four-wheel independent tyre-inflation control system.

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IMAGES
The 2017 Dakar team line-up consists of father and son drivers Yoshimasa and Teruhito Sugawara (centre), with navigators Mitsugu Takahashi and Hiroyuki Sugiura and a carefully selected team of Hino dealer mechanics and support personnel.
The Hino Team Sugawara 4x4 rally trucks are loosely based on the medium-duty Hino 500 Series.