After three gruelling days of scrutineering, the Sasol Solar Challenge teams are ready to cross the starting line tomorrow, (Saturday, 24 September 2016) ,in Pretoria.
Over the last three days, 14 teams from all over the world have been undergoing tough scrutineering at the Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria to determine whether they are fit to compete in this year’s 2,000 kilometre challenge across the country.
A first round of static scrutineering assessed the cars’ suitability in terms of electrical and mechanical engineering, structural stability, and safety aspects. Scrutineers from the Council for Scientific and Industrial
Research (CSIR) inspected the vehicles’ batteries, solar panels and branding, and weighed both cars and drivers.
Yesterday, a tough round of track testing in the dynamic scrutineering round evaluated the cars’ roadworthiness, ability to corner, drive at speed and brake.
The Solar Challenge is sponsored by Sasol as a travelling showcase of cutting-edge engineering, innovative minds and ingenuity.
Even before the challenge has begun, these high-tech solar-powered vehicles have been through the paces with eight of the 14 teams qualifying to compete in the first day of the Sasol Solar Challenge on Saturday.
The starting order on Saturday will be:
1. Tokai Challenger, Japan
2. Nuon solar team, The Netherlands
3. Maragon Olympus, South Africa
4. GAMF MegaLux, Hungary
5. Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa
6. Lodz, Poland
7. ZingCo, South Africa
8. North-West University, South Africa
While the North-West University team has qualified, they place last on the start line due to an accident on the track while setting their qualifying time. Their vehicle is being evaluated to determine whether they will be able to compete, in which case the repairs will need to be presented for a secondary safety inspection. The team’s driver was unharmed, and the Sasol Solar Challenge community is supporting them in restoring the car.
Four more teams have had penalties imposed and have to forfeit the first day of the event, but may still be allowed to join the Sasol Solar Challenge from the second day provided they submit for re-inspection at the end of the first day (tomorrow) in Kroonstad.
North-East University from the Northern Republic of Cyprus will be allowed to present their car for inspection in order to qualify for the event after the vehicle failed to make it to scrutineering.
South Africa’s University of Johannesburg and Deutsche Schule Johannesburg failed to fully comply with scrutineering, as did the Turkish team, Anadolu. All teams have the opportunity to make reparations and join the event from the second day in Kroonstad, should they pass the inspection.
“It’s been a very tough few days but it’s also been really great to see the teams pull together and support one another,” said Winstone Jordaan, Sasol Solar Challenge director. “We’re looking forward to seeing these teams tackle bigger challenges on the eight-day journey through South Africa.”
The teams that are forfeiting the first day will be allowed to cross the start line in Pretoria tomorrow, signalling their participation in the event.
The cars can be seen leaving for their adventure from the CSIR offices in Pretoria on Saturday, 24 September, from 07h00 and will cross the finish line on Saturday, 1 October, in Cape Town at the V&A Waterfront.