Hino continued to build on its astounding record of 33 starts and 33 finishes in the gruelling Dakar Rally which finished in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia on January 19. Hino’s record goes back to the 1991 Dakar Rally. Since then, at least one Hino truck has competed in the event and qualified as an official finisher. What makes this record truly phenomenal is the fact that often Hino has had only one truck carrying its name in this famous rally-raid.

This was the case again in 2024. A bonneted Hino 600, driven by Teruhito Sugawara and entered by the Hino Sugawara Team, finished sixth overall out of 20 finishers from an original field of 46 trucks. This was the first time in the past five years that the Hino has been able to finish in the top 10 in a field of mostly trucks with much larger engines. The previous top 10 placing was ninth in 2019.

Once again Hino was the only Japanese truck competing in this world-renowned rally-raid with the remainder of the field made up mainly of European trucks from most of the major manufacturers.

This year’s route consisted of a prologue to ascertain starting positions and then 12 days of racing split by a rest day. Total distance of the 2024 Dakar was 7 891 km, with 4 727 km of timed racing stages. This included a 600 km timed special stage over two days in the so-called Empty Quarter, described as the “Valley of Death, with sand dunes as far as the eye could see. There was no outside help during this so-called “48-hour marathon”, with the crews having to service and repair their vehicles themselves at the overnight stop.

The Hino Sugawara team continues to develop the racing truck each year and its performance is outstanding when one considers most of its opposition have 13-litre or larger engines, while the Hino’s six-cylinder turbocharged engine is just under 10 litres in capacity. The Hino 600 bonneted truck is sold only in North America, but it is basically the same as the forward control Hino 500-Series range sold in South Africa.

Due to changes in the Dakar Rally rules regarding hybrid trucks the Hino did not make use of the hybrid diesel-electric powertrain it has used in the previous two races. However, this meant there was a weight-saving of 400 kg which made a big difference to the truck’s performance.

The truck was crewed by team director Teruhito Sugawara, with co-driver Somemiya Hirokazu and mechanic Mochizuki Yuji for the third year in a row. This was Teruhito’s 24th Dakar and his 16th top 10 finish. It was his 18th Dakar as a driver, having previously competed in five Dakar’s as co-driver for his father, Yoshimasa, who competed in 36 Dakar Rallies before retiring at the age of 77. Teruhito drove the team’s support truck in 2002.

Yoshimasa, who founded the Hino Sugawara Team, held the record for 20 consecutive Dakar finishes, which was only broken this year by South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers in a Toyota Hilux. This year marked Giniel’s 21st consecutive Dakar finish, with 20 of them in the top 10.

Mokoto Wakimura, the Chief Technical Officer of Hino Motors, was on the event and had this to say at the finish” “I’m glad I could visit the racing site and was able to motivate everyone. As a result, of their efforts we were able to achieve a great sixth place overall. I was overwhelmed with emotion. We would like to continue this activity in the future.”

“We are delighted that the Hino has once again finished a Dakar Rally and so continued to build on the brand’s amazing record in this gruelling race,” commented Anton Falck, Vice President of Hino South Africa. “The fact that a Hino has made it to the finish in the past 33 rallies underlines the Hino reputation for reliability and durability even under the toughest conditions.”


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