Six Hino Motors Employee Mechanics to Join Dakar Rally 2019!

Thứ sáu - 19/10/2018 21:44
Six Hino Motors employee mechanics were chosen to join the team, and HINO TEAM SUGAWARA has a new setup with these new members heading into Dakar Rally 2019 which is scheduled for January next year. In this section, we would like to introduce our readers to these new members along with their professional histories.
Six Hino Motors Employee Mechanics to Join Dakar Rally 2019!

Profiles (honorifics omitted, from photo left to right) 
Kazuki Ishida: Joined Hino Motors in 2015. From the Aftersales Service Div; Mechanic for Car 1 driven by Yoshimasa Sugawara. 
Yuji Mochizuki: Joined Hino Motors in 2003. From the Power Train Evaluation & Engineering Div; Mechanic for Car 2 driven by Teruhito Sugawara. 
Wataru Takahashi: Joined Hino Motors in 1988. From the Vehicle Evaluation & Engineering Div; Mechanic for Car 1 driven by Yoshimasa Sugawara. 
Hideaki Takatori:Joined Hino Motors in 1982. From the Vehicle Planning & Production Engineering Div; Mechanic leader who will be leading all HINO TEAM SUGAWARA mechanics. 
Shintaro Suzuki:Joined Hino Motors in 2002. From the Technical Research Center. HINO TEAM SUGAWARA’s mechanic leader support. 
Shinji Kitagawa: Joined Hino Motors in 2008. From the Vehicle & Module Evaluation & Engineering Div; Mechanic for Car 2 driven by Teruhito Sugawara.

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Hideaki Takatori, Mechanic leader

— Here we are speaking with Hideaki Takatori who is the mechanic leader for this year’s team and actually has had previous experience in the Dakar Rally. What are some of the differences that you notice between then and now? 
Takatori:I was on the team for Dakar Rally 1996, and also in 1997 when Hino won the trucks category with a 1-2-3 finish. Back then, there weren’t as many mechanics as there are now, spearheaded by the Overseas Parts & Service Div. (currently the Aftersales Service Div.) with myself as a mechanic from Hino Motors and two other mechanics from dealerships. At the time, I was in charge of welding and other sectional servicing jobs. But now, not only will this be my first rally in 20 years, I am also the mechanic leader of the team, which means that my job description is completely different and the scope of tasks that I need to keep an eye on is much broader. Also, the trucks that we were racing at the time were not that different from our production trucks in terms of their construction. Our latest racing trucks, on the other hand, have received upgrades down to every detail, so things are completely different from when I was last on the team 20 years ago. There are a lot of things that I have to learn.

— How do you see this latest team from your perspective as mechanic leader? 
Takatori:Most of our mechanics, those from Hino Motors and the dealerships, are very knowledgeable of our trucks and are versatile enough to take on a diverse range of tasks. I hope to create an environment where we can all share our individual knowledge and create a relationship where we can talk with each other about anything.

— Can you tell us about your determination leading up to the Dakar Rally? 
Takatori:The first thing is to make sure that we, the mechanics, are all able to work together to build a truck that our drivers and navigators can drive safely back to the finish line.

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Shinji Kitagawa, Mechanic, Car 2

— What kind of work were you involved in at your workplace? 
Kitagawa:I was involved with checking the strength and durability of truck frames and other components. For example, you can make a truck body more durable by using thicker material, but that will also increase its weight. You can end up with a truck like a tank and that will naturally limit the amount of payload it can carry. My job was to put myself in our customers’ shoes and fine tune each of the parts so that our customers could operate our trucks safely.

— How did the people close to you react when you were chosen as a team mechanic? 
Kitagawa:This has been a very upbeat topic of conversation for myself and my family. Colleagues at my workplace and people walking down the hall would come up and congratulate me saying things like, “I heard you made the team! I hope you do well!” In that sense, I feel a lot of responsibility in a positive way, and I’m feeling very focused now.

— Can you tell us about your determination leading up to the Dakar Rally? 
Kitagawa:Our new Car 2 has a lot more speed and is able to make turns much better, but my focus is on teamwork because without that, I don’t think we can aim for higher rankings no matter how much better our trucks’ perform. I would like for us to improve our rankings over last year, partly as testimony of my being on the team.

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Yuji Mochizuki, Mechanic, Car 2

— How is your work going as a mechanic? 
Mochizuki:The first thing I noticed was that there were a lot of non-routine jobs. Since it’s very difficult to base our work on any kind of expectation or anticipation, my feeling is that we need to act flexibly depending on the situation. The dealership mechanics on the team are very knowledgeable in terms of servicing the trucks, so everyday has been a learning experience for me. I like to make things so I hope to make a contribution in my areas of strength. The mechanics from Hino Motors and those from dealerships both joined the truck building process at about the same time so we have a sense of camaraderie in our work.

— What kind of work were you involved in at your workplace? 
Mochizuki:I was mostly engaged in tests for engine development, where I would feed back our findings to designers and analyze problems based on data.

— Going forward, how would you like to make use of your experience at the Dakar Rally? 
Mochizuki:I’m in charge of overseeing the mechanics in charge of Car 2, the new truck that we built from scratch, so I’m in what you might call a sub-leader role. Through this experience, I feel that I will be able to develop my ability to motivate and mobilize people, and maintain a big picture perspective of whatever is going on. Once I’m back at my workplace, I hope to make use of these newly acquired skills.

— Can you tell us about your determination leading up to the Dakar Rally? 
Mochizuki:Car 2 is a new truck so there are a lot of unknowns, but I am committed to bringing out its full potential so that we are able to finish at a high ranking. I intend to pay attention to every detail, keep safety first uppermost in my mind, and do my best to service the truck so that our driver, Teruhito Sugawara, is able to drive it with peace of mind. One of my hobbies is taking photos, so I also hope to help everyone out as a photographer during the race.

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Shintaro Suzuki, Mechanic leader support

— What kind of work were you involved in at your workplace? 
Suzuki:I was involved with making overhead lights that automatically adjust to prevent light glare for oncoming traffic, and most recently, a prototype of the Emergency Driving Stop System (EDSS). Since this was a prototype, we listened to feedback from a wide range of people to determine if this was something that we could actually commercialize, and we worked hard to make products that would address the needs of the greater society.

— We’ve heard that you’ve been involved with the Dakar Rally for a few years now. Have you actually ever taken part in a rally? 
Suzuki:I’ve been running performance tests for our trucks since Dakar Rally 2013. I was also on the team as a mechanic for Rally Mongolia 2014, but this will be the first time for me on the Silk Way Rally or Dakar Rally.

— How do you see this latest team from your perspective? 
Suzuki:I think I have a very good relationship with the mechanics. The Silk Way Rally will be kicking off soon and I am not the slightest bit concerned with our teamwork. I see my role not as a mechanic, but as someone who offers support if anyone is having a hard time and to keep things going smoothly.

— Can you tell us about your determination leading up to the Dakar Rally? 
Suzuki:This is the second time that I will be taking part as a member of HINO TEAM SUGAWARA. The Dakar Rally is on a much larger scale than Rally Mongolia, and our team setup has changed over the years, so I intend to give it all I’ve got with a fresh outlook.

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Wataru Takahashi, Mechanic, Car 1

— What kind of work were you involved in at your workplace? 
Takahashi:I have been involved in the development of the Hino S’ELEGA (large sightseeing coach) since I first joined the company 30 years ago. We ran a lot of tests in unusual environments, including in cold weather regions. Technologies for driving on frozen roads were a prerequisite for cold weather tests and I had a lot experience in this area, so I was called on to take part in cold weather tests that other departments were running. So I’ve experienced a wide range of work. At about the time Hino began racing in the Dakar Rally, in 1991 or thereabouts, there was this one instance when the trucks that came home from the rally were handed over to our department for driving tests. This new Car 2 that we will be racing in the Silk Way Rally is a completely different beast from the trucks that I have worked on in the past. It is so much more evolved. It was an exciting experience building this truck all the while imagining what kind of performance it would deliver.

— Going forward, how would you like to make use of your experience at the Dakar Rally? 
Takahashi:I think the fact that people from the Vehicle Evaluation & Engineering Div. have a chance to join the rally team as a mechanic is a great source of motivation for my juniors, so I will do my best so that this door stays open for them. Once I’m back at the Vehicle Evaluation & Engineering Div. as the PIC of junior training, I would like to feedback what I will have learned at the Dakar Rally.

— Can you tell us about your determination leading up to the Dakar Rally? 
Takahashi:There is another “Takahashi” at the Vehicle Evaluation & Engineering Div. where I’m from, and he was scheduled to join the Dakar Rally team last year as a support car driver. He is like a little brother to me, and since he wasn’t able to join last year, I intend to make up for that — like big brother Takahashi redeeming little brother Takahashi. I am also the mechanic sub-leader for mechanics in charge of servicing Car 1, so I will pay close attention to make sure that none of our team members get hurt during the rally. I think the first step in finishing at high rankings is to ensure that everyone on our team is able to work safely.

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Kazuki Ishida, Mechanic, Car 1

— What kind of work were you involved in at your workplace? 
Ishida:I was responsible for working with overseas agencies to ensure and improve our good relations with our customers overseas. Many of my seniors at the Aftersales Service Div. are on temporary transfer to agencies in different countries, and joining the team for this Dakar Rally gave me a chance to contact these people. Meeting my seniors from the Aftersales Service Div. in a different capacity has been a great experience and I’ve learned a lot from that.

— What are some of the differences between your regular line of work and what you do now on the team? 
Ishida:I’m wearing work clothes more often than I do jacket and tie. The situations I work in are vastly different, and the work itself is completely different too. This has given me a chance to work with mechanics who were screened from dealerships nationwide, and I’m learning a lot from this. I hope to gain more knowledge about our trucks as well as how our seniors outside of Japan engage in their work and take what I learn back to the Service Div.

— Can you tell us about your determination leading up to the Dakar Rally? 
Ishida: During the rally, I will do my best to contribute to the team effort by responding as quickly as possible to the mechanics’ instructions. I want to dedicate myself to this team over this one-year period so that the team will want to invite other Aftersales Service Div. members to join next year. I intend to give it all I’ve got in everything I do.

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