The ceremonial start of the 2015 Dakar Rally was held in Buenos Aires City, Argentina at May Plaza in front of the President’s Office on January 3.
This day was a literal ceremony and the vehicles that were unveiled at the podium were once again returned to the vehicle storage inside Technopolis. They will be heading towards the first bivouac area in the early morning of January 4. In any case, the ceremony celebrating the departure took place without any changes as the plaza and of course the roadside were already filled with hundreds of thousands of spectators as it became a bustling start worthy of South America.
When the day was already coming to an end at around 21:00, the two Hino Rangers of Hino’s Team Sugawara finally arrived at the podium in front of the Presidential Palace in the following group order: Teruhito Sugawara/Hiroyuki Sugiura in car number two and Yoshimasa Sugawara/Yoko Wakabayashi/Katsumi Hamura in car number 1. They seem to have suffered a delay in their progress. Each of them firmly shook hands with the mechanics on top of the podium and they turned on the ignition while sounding their horns in response to the loud cheers of the crowd.
The first leg of the race will be held on January 4 from the outskirts of Argentina’s Cordova City until the stretch in Villa Carlos Paz. The 170km race section of the total 833km distance is short but it was designed to be a high-speed, high risk section which runs across farm lands with right angle corners that make caution a necessity.
â—†The following are the comments of Hino Team Sugawara
“We are humbled by the constant enthusiastic support of the Argentinian people. At any rate, I will be proceeding with caution in the beginning since this year is my first time to use (Michelin’s) XZL tires and also because there were a lot of changes in the suspension” according to Yoshimasa Sugawara.
“I am overwhelmed by the scale of the Dakar Rally. I thought that it would be possible to get used to the changes, including the three-seater combination, in just two to three days” according to Yoko Wakabayashi.
“The first day (of the SS) is not long so I intend to proceed while checking out the status of the various parts of the frame. It’s been a while since we had a three-seater setup” according to Hamura Katsumi.
“The Buenos Aires start had a good feel to it. This year’s tournament has a strong impression of being a sprint to the finish. However, there is no need to drive fast recklessly so far since the potential of the vehicle has also been enhanced. That aspect will make the race easier. I am afraid of troubles; so early on, we will be proceeding with care” according to Teruhito Sugawara.
“So it finally begins. We have to take care at any rate since the SS farm road is dangerous. Also, we also have to be mindful about troubles in the initial stage since it still is a new vehicle” according to Hiroyuki Sugiura.
(Translated by Michael Sabaldan)