Jan 10, 2021
The team’s HINO500 Series (crewed by Teruhito Sugawara, Hirokazu Somemiya, and Yuji Mochizuki) was fully recovered from the damage it suffered in the accident two days earlier, finishing the day at 15th place overall in the Truck Division.
This improved their accumulated ranking to date after SS5 by 2 notches from 17th to 15th place and the crew continues to maintain a solid lead at top position in the Under 10-litre Class.
Contestants traveled north on a 72-km liaison from their bivouac in Riyadh to reach the start line of the day’s SS.
Road surfaces in the SS were largely gravel, interspersed with rocky canyon crossings where racers were not able to pick up speed, as well as dunes large and small, making for a course that was more challenging than what most had expected.
What’s more, some of the dunes were also difficult to cross as their sand had become wet and heavy from rain.
A part of the roof of the HINO500 Series truck’s repaired rear body blew off, but that was the only problem the crew encountered throughout the day, allowing them to finish this demanding stage at a pace on par with their pace before the accident.
The finish line for the SS was set at Qiba’ near the originally planned bivouac site in Buraydah.
From there, contestants traveled on a 268-km liaison to the bivouac in Al Qaisumah. Because the SS took long hours to finish and the stage’s overall distance was also long at roughly 800 km–approaching the distance traveled the previous day–it was already late in the day past 9:00 pm when the team’s HINO500 Series truck arrived at the bivouac.
On Jan 8, racers will head out for Ha’il in the final stage of the first half of the event.
At the day’s briefing, organizers announced that the SS would be shortened from 440 km to 347 km, with the liaison routes before and after the SS unchanged at 265 km and 76 km, respectively.
At a total driving distance of 688 km, this will be another long day of driving.
While this was a 450-km SS, we weren’t able to get our average speed up, so it was a tough SS.
We’re seeing parts that remained unbroken so far breaking here and there, so we are fixing those bit by bit everyday.
The way things are going, the truck should be as good as new by the time we cross the finish line.
This was a long day.
There were a few areas that were tricky for navigation in the first half, but the dunes were not a problem because I only had to give cup (bearing) instructions.
I’m tired but doing well.
The mount of the CTIS (Central Tire Inflation System)’s controller broke when we were racing the SS, so I held it in my hands for the rest of the day.
It seems that we may be able to get the data logger up and running again so I’m happy to hear that.
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