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Sasol Solar Challenge 2018 charges up and sets off in Pretoria for 8-day race through South Africa

2018-09-23 18:00
sasol solar challenge 2018

Defending Champions Nuon - Image: Proof Africa

Nine cars set off on Saturday morning from Pretoria, with Japanese team Tokai leading the pack for the start of the 8-day race in the 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge.

Tokai were quickly overtaken by Nuon, the Dutch world champions who also hold the record for South Africa - a total of 4 716 kilometres, clocked in the 2016 event. 

High school team Sonke Siyakunde surprised everyone by qualifying fourth, and set off ahead of international and local teams with years of experience.

The top South African team at the moment is North-West University. 

SA teams CPUT and CUT were experiencing mechanical difficulty and were working on their vehicles, as were the Swiss team, Solar Energy Racers. 

On Saturday afternoon the teams were baking in the sun - which was a relief to the solar competitors - in Sasolburg, where the teams were completing laps on a set loop to get a competitive advantage.

From 3pm, they headed off to Kroonstad, where all cars had to clock into parc ferme at 5pm sharp, or receive penalties.

Rob Lodge, team manager and teacher at St Alban’s College, said: "We’re very proud of the team – they’ve been working hard for months, and to qualify ahead of universities is an honour. Despite that, we chose to leave last on the start line.

"Our schools came out early to support us – and that was far more important to us than the time we’d gain by leaving before other teams."

sasol solar challenge 2018

                                         Defending champions Nuon. - Image: Proof Africa

Winstone Jordaan, Sasol Solar Challenge founder and director, said: "This is an incredibly challenging event, and we commend all the competitors who have spent months building solar cars and planning for the tough route through South Africa."

Day 2 highlights:


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