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Solar challenge: Teams feeling the heat

2014-09-30 08:17

TEAMS TAKING STRAIN: By Day 3, four teams have dropped out of the 2014 Solar Challenge. Team Solar Eagles (pictured here) from Maragon Private School Olympus, Pretoria, charges its solar-powered racer. Image: Solarchallenge.co.za

The 2014 South African Solar Challenge is well under way as teams started Day 3 of an  epic  journey through South Africa on Monday (September 29).

In a race where winners are ultimately determined by the distance travelled, having a solid strategy is a key factor to a great finish.

Race leaders The Netherlands’ Nuon Solar Team, was the first to leave Bloemfontein, having finished Day 2 with an impressive lead over nine rivals and have continued to dominate the challenge.


On Day 1 (Sept 27), the team’s Nuna7S racer broke the record for the furthest distance travelled in a single day by covering 437.7km. The Nuna7S outperformed rivals on Day 3 (Sept 19), clocking 567.9 km and breaking the record set on Day 1 by more than 130km.
2014 Solar Challenge race director Winstone Jordaan said: “The Nuna7S dominated the race by doing five laps yesterday, particularly impressive considering that the weather was overcast all day.”

The Anadolu Solar Team, from Turkey’s Anadolu University, is second with a total distance of 763.1km to date.

South African teams are keeping the international competitors on their toes. North West University has maintained its lead among local teams, having covered 608.8km. The University of Johannesburg has also stepped up to show its intent, taking second place in distance on Day 2 (Sept 28)  with a total distance of 563.1 km.


Jordaan said: “The Sasol Solar Challenge is the ultimate endurance race and we have seen challenges faced by most teams. Team Maragon had to replace wiring to its car’s motor, Team UKZN replaced a BMS and repaired some sensors, Team UCT repaired a broken chassis, the Wits team had to replace some of wiring, Nuon Solar Team had to replace a brake disc and Team NWU had to install new bearings.

“With many teams suffering set backs, success at the finish was determined by overcoming the daily difficulties, and fighting ahead regardless. And after all this, in true African spirit, the teams had time to dance and sing after the finish.”

With ideal weather on Monday (Sept 29), teams were expected to report even better daily distances. They will head for Colesberg followed by Graaff-Reinet, Port Elizabeth, Knysna, Swellendam and eventually Cape Town.

Four teams have withdrawn:

Iran, Qazvin Islamic Azad University, Team Havin, HAVIN II
India, Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), Team SolarMobil Manipal, SERVE (Solar Electrical Road Vehicle)
Turkey, Dokuz Eylül University (University in Turkey), Team Solaris, Solaris 7
South Africa, Deutsche Schule Johannesburg (DSJ), Team DSJ, Sonnenbrand III

For more information and to get behind your favourite team follow the Sasol Solar Challenge on Twitter, like the Facebook page or visit the website.

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