Hino’s experiment in running a hybrid power version  of its US built 600 series in the Dakar Rally has been claimed as a success by the Japanese truck maker  after it completed its arduous debut in the event around the deserts of Saudi Arabia.

The bonneted 600 Series hybrid truck finished 22nd place in the truck division the Hino Sugawara team its 31st consecutive finish  in the Dakar since it entered for the first time in 1991, which made it the first Japanese commercial vehicle maker to start in the rally.

It was the  third time the Dakar had been staged  in Saudi with the start and finish in Jeddah with the trucks, cars, bikes and quads covering  8404 kilometres in total, of which 4129 kilometres were competitive special stages against the clock

Hino says Team Sugawara overcame the many restrictions imposed by COVID-19 to develop and test the first-ever Hino racing hybrid system.

The results were a result of the driving skills and extensive rally experience displayed by driver and team director Teruhito Sugawara, and the teamwork from the navigators, Hirokazu Somemiya and Yuji Mochizuki, mechanics and support members of Hino Team Sugawara.

Consistent results in the first ten stages saw the Hino 600 Series on track for a top 20 result but this was stymied by an a small issue on the penultimate stage.

The Hino ran a smaller engine than the outright contenders and competed in the under 10 litre category with out right trucks featuring engines up to 15 litres. The truck featured full-time 4WD and an 8,866 litre turbocharged and intercooled engine, which is matched to a six-speed Allison automatic transmission. the engine is an enhanced version of the Hino A09C engine, the production version of which is available in the all-new Hino 700 Series and 500 Series Wide Cab trucks in Australia.

“The vehicle equipped with the hybrid system was developed over a period of about two years, and it was a project that was supported by many people,” said  Sugawara.

Team navigator Yuji Mochizuki said this year was a year of challenges.

“So, although we fell back in the rankings, what we gained was great. I am sure that I will be able to use this information for future development.

“On the other hand, the hood cab made the ride more comfortable and it was physically easier.

The Hino Dakar Rally truck is powered by a