For our enthusiastic Dakar Rally truckers who have asked us how the Hino truck which we reported on in a past story had fared, we have some good news. The bonneted Hino 600, driven by Teruhito Sugawara and entered by the Hino Sugawara Team, finishing 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 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 had 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.
“We’re delighted that the Hino has once again finished a Dakar Rally and so continued to build on the brand’s amazing record in this race,” says 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.”