Sasol Solar Challenge Stage 2 sees massive upsets, proving it’s anyone’s game
Bloemfontein, South Africa
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 will start 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 places 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 heads 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 7h00 for a 7h30 start,” said Johannes de Vries, TUT Solar team manager. “We’re incredibly proud that by 10h30 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.
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 9h30 to 14h30, and at Gariep Dam from 16h00 to 17h30.
Sasol Solar Challenge route and dates
22 September: Pretoria – Sasolburg – Kroonstad
23 September: Kroonstad – Winburg – Bloemfontein
24 September: Bloemfontein – Edenburg – Gariep Dam
25 September: Gariep Dam – Middelburg – Graaff-Reinet
26 September: Graaff-Reinet – Jansenville – Port Elizabeth
27 September: Port Elizabeth – Kareedauw – Sedgefield
28 September: Sedgefield – Mossel Bay – Swellendam
29 September: Swellendam – Bredasdorp – Cape Agulhas – Stellenbosch
Facebook page: SA Solar Challenge
YouTube channel: SASolarChallenge
Twitter handle: @Solar_Challenge
Official hashtag: #SasolSolarChallenge