Hino Put to the Ultimate Dakar Challenge
Winning the Dakar Rally is an incredible feat of endurance, but to win a class ten years running is proof of consistent excellence.
For Hino Team Sugawara, success in the under 10-litre capacity truck division recently rounds out a decade of dominance for the brand in the world’s toughest motorsport event.
Every Hino model on sale in Australia has been put through its paces in the toughest local test conditions to prove their worth before being offered to the public, so it is little wonder derivatives of the production trucks are pressed into service on the Dakar.
Although the Dakar has shifted continents from its African origins, the 5,598km survival test through the Peruvian desert still remains one of the ultimate tests of man and machine.
Among the 334 bikes, cars, quads, UTVs (SxS’) and trucks to face the starting line were a pair of rally-bred Hino’s based on the 500 Series medium duty truck but with a range of competition upgrades.
The duo are affectionately tagged as the “Little Monsters”, an apt title when you consider the challenges faced not only in the dunes, but also from all corners of the trucking world.
To survive the rigours of the Dakar, not only does a machine have to be tough, but it must have the power and torque to deal with the deep, loose sand encountered throughout the journey.
Powering the Dakar effort was a variant of the six-cylinder heavy duty A09 engine, with the production version available as an option in the Hino 500 Series Wide Cab trucks found on Australian roads.
Extending the hard-working DNA of the design, the four-cylinder version of the A09 powerplant is now found fitted to the all-new Hino 500 Series Standard Cab under the A05 designation, with the configuration providing improved power and torque, all while reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions over previous models.
The family lineage from the Dakar specification through to the 500 Series can be traced via the commonality of many components, with the system effectively over-engineered to cope with any scenario.
The range-topping FD 1126 and FE 1426 designations of the new 500 Series Standard Cab receive the top-rated engine, the A05C-TC, which produces peak power of 260hp at 2,300RPM, with torque appraised at 882Nm at 1,400RPM.
The torque of the motor is delivered across a lower and wider rev range, a trait that is not only handy for Peruvian hill climbs, but also general city driving, where utilising the relatively lower rev range results in not only reduced fuel consumption, but a quieter ride.
One bonus for the road going A05 over the competition truck is a live drive PTO, driven at 100 per cent engine speed, which makes it an obvious choice for mixer or vacuum truck operators.
The Team to Beat
The father and son team of Yoshimasa (Senior) and Teruhito Sugawara campaigned two slightly differing specification trucks, with Sugawara Senior carrying over his weapon of choice from 2018, while Teruhito was aboard an all-new machine for the 2019 epic.
Powering the newer of the two machines, was an up-specced A09 engine, which had its maximum engine output increased from 690hp to 739hp, ultimately enough grunt to claim the class honours.
Following ten stages spread over 12 days, the leading Little Monster finished in the top-ten amongst all trucks in the event, covering the timed portion of the course in 52 hours, 23 minutes and 44sec.
A sign of the toughness of the route was that only 34 per cent of truck competitors finished the rally.
The Real Winners
The Hino Team Sugawara assault on the Dakar was a true team effort, with the squad’s staff joined by the best and brightest from the Hino family in Japan, complemented by a team of mechanics chosen from dealerships around the country.
The class winning truck was truly rally bred, with the combination featuring a more rigid frame, longer wheelbase, and a new cab suspension, which collectively provided the ultimate in performance at high speeds, while also the stability to deal with any road surface thrown at it.
Backing up the race machines were a pair of support trucks, namely Hino 700 Series heavy duty versions, which traversed the country carrying essential spare parts, as well as the hard-working crew.
The desire for Hino to compete in the Dakar Rally provides real-life benefits for everyday Hino drivers.
The push for competition innovation improves the breed, with lessons learned in the sand dunes ultimately pressed into new developments for the production range.
If a truck can excel on the Dakar, it can handle anything you can throw at it in Australia.
Hino Australia’s Head of Customer and Brand Dimitri Andreatidis congratulated the team on its success:
“Once again, Hino has demonstrated its reliability by delivering a 10th successive class victory, which is an incredible result given that only 34 per cent of trucks actually finished the rally.
“At Hino Australia, we are extremely proud of the “Little Monster” trucks and their long list of achievements.