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Sasol Solar Challenge: Day 2 - Damaged car fixed overnight, Japanese steals the lead from the Dutch

2018-09-24 16:34

Khaya Dondolo

sasol solar challenge 2018

Image: Sasol Solar Challenge 2018

Japanese solar team Tokai have unseated world champions Nuon on the second day of the Sasol Solar Challenge. In an equally big upset, South African high school team Sonke Siyakunde started ahead of all local universities on Heritage Day.

And in a tale of pure determination, Tshwane University of Technology completed more than 100 kilometres after rebuilding their cockpit and solar array overnight. This placed them fifth on the start line on Monday.

“It’s only day two and the 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge is already proving that it’s anyone’s game,” said event director Winstone Jordaan. “This is the kind of competitive and resourceful spirit that we celebrate, and that prove the South African event is unlike any other.”

The Sasol Solar Challenge headed into its third stage on Heritage Day, departing from Bloemfontein for Edenburg and Gariep Dam. Rivals Tokai and Nuon both completed exactly 514.2 kilometres on Sunday, but the Japanese team finished a full minute ahead of the Dutch, earning Tokai first place on the Monday morning start line at UFS Sports Grounds. Swiss team Solar Energy Racers completed 372.6 kilometres, earning them third place. 

SA’s North-West University, holders of the local-team record, got 301 kilometres under their belt after identifying a minor electrical problem that was slowing them down. Showing true engineering determination, the Tshwane University team went to extraordinary lengths to get their damaged vehicle back on the road today. 

"We took the car back to Pretoria and worked through the night to get it to Kroonstad at 7am for a 7.30am start,” said Johannes de Vries, TUT Solar team manager.

"We’re incredibly proud that by 10.30am on Sunday, we were back on the road. There are still issues with battery management, but as soon as we overcome that, we hope to take first place among local teams – and even give the world champs a good run for their money."

But while NWU and TUT did more distance than other local teams, they both incur heavy penalties due to late arrivals in Bloemfontein. High school team Sonke Siyakude, with 70.8 kilometres, will therefore start fourth on the next stage.

Hong Kong’s hyper-realistic solar car, competing in the sustainability class, covered its first distance today. They clocked a full ten kilometres, but are running a negative score of -2.3 kilometres due to a hefty late arrival penalty.

sasol solar challenge 2018

Both the Central University of Technology and Cape Peninsula University are yet to cover any distance on solar power. Despite this, CUT place ahead of CPUT due to late arrival penalties. 

This Heritage Day will see all nine teams leave Bloemfontein for Edenburg, where they’ll complete their loops before heading to Gariep Dam for the night. Spectators are welcome in Edenburg’s town centre from 9.30am to 2.30pm, and at Gariep Dam from 4pm to 5.30pm.


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