Teams face galvanising challenges in tough first day of 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge

South African team TUT places third despite damage to solar array

Kroonstad, South Africa 

The first day of the 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge saw new and experienced teams alike tested in typical first-day fashion.

“After ten years we still find that solar cars need a few hundred kilometres of ‘shake down’ to really come into their own,” said Winstone Jordaan, event director. “That’s what we’ve seen today – everything from suspension problems to traffic to damaged solar arrays. But, the teams are incredibly dedicated and will be hard at work tonight, ready for day two of this epic eight-day challenge.”

After setting off from Pretoria this morning, top teams clocked just more than 645 km, making use of the loop route in and out of Sasolburg, today’s control stop.

With Dutch team Nuon and Japanese team Tokai covering exactly the same distance at 645.5 km, Tokai will pay for their late entry into Kroonstad with a five-minute start penalty. This sees them sixth on the start grid when they set off from Kroonstad tomorrow morning at 7h30.

Right behind Nuon, having completed 493.3 km, will be the South African team from the Tshwane University of Technology. Despite damaging their solar array on the last stretch between Sasolburg and Kroonstad, the team have placed second on the first day. Their engineers will be hard at work tonight to make repairs. Drivers will, as per the rules, however, be in bed by 11PM.

While the North-West University and Swiss Solar Energy Racers teams both covered exactly 417.2 km, a late penalty of one-minute will see the Swiss car start fourth, behind the South African team.

High school team Sonke Siyakunde’s 172 km earns them fifth place after a third place start.

A long night lies ahead of the CPUT, CUT and City University teams, who have yet to cover any distance on solar power. “We’ve had a tough day but the team is incredibly motivated and solution-orientated, and they’re all confident and excited to get rolling on the road tomorrow as we head out to Bloemfontein,” said Shereleen Januarie from rookie team, CPUT flyers.

The education competition in Sasolburg today was won by the Iketsetseng Comprehensive secondary School. To win, they needed to identify an issue in their community that could be solved with science, technology, engineering and maths principles.

Tomorrow’s route will see the cars travel from Kroonstad to Bloemfontein, stopping in Winburg to allow teams to complete laps of the set loop route.


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


Useful links

Facebook page: SA Solar Challenge

YouTube channel: SASolarChallenge

Twitter handle: @Solar_Challenge

Official hashtag: #SasolSolarChallenge

Instagram: sasolarchallenge

Saturday, September 22, 2018