Only half of the entries in the 2012 Sasol Solar Challenge left the start line on Wednesday.Deputy minister of science and technology Derek Hanekom was at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research campus in Pretoria to send the vehicles on their way but six of the 13 entries had technical problems.BATTLE OF ATTRITIONThe first leg to Vryburg was reportedly littered with road works and potholes although teams were said to be kept entertained by the scenery along the N14. The experienced Japanese teams showed their dominance early as, halfway through the first stage, Australian Solar Challenge 2011 world champions Tokai University had a clear lead. This team also won the 2010 event in South Africa. They were followed by Japanese compatriots Kenjiro Shinozuka.The South African teams faced teething problems; for some it was their first time on the open road. The harsh road conditions were a challenge for the inexperienced teams. Challenge race director Winstone Jordaan said: “We expected a few of the teams to find the first stage challenging as they had never competed in an open-road event. As we progress and teams become more familiar with the technical aspects of their vehicles we can expect things to get more exciting.”Whatever, only the two Japanese teams made it to Vryburg before sunset.The second leg (Thursday) will be from Vryburg to Upington before continuing down the West Coast towards Cape Town.Follow the Sasol Solar Challenge on Twitter (@solar_challenge), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/sasolarchallenge) or visit the website for more informationCheck out this YouTube link for regular updates.