University of KwaZulu Natal second to world champions
The stop over point in East London was used to separate the vehicles as the next stage of the race entailed two separate routes leading to Pietermaritzburg. The slower cars would take the shorter route which would see them leave East London and head to their overnight stop in Kokstad and the faster teams would take the longer route that would see them go to Bloemfontein and around Lesotho to get to Pietermaritzburg.
The UKZN team is currently in second place, behind the 2011 World Solar Challenge Champions, Tokai University.
The trip from East London to Bloemfontein was a difficult one for the teams due to the distance that they would have to cover along the N6. However, as the teams moved up the N6 and past Aliwal North, the constant roadworks and detours along the route made the trip up to Bloemfontein that much harder for all the teams.
According to Mohammed Mahomedy, a final year Mechanical Engineering student at UKZN, the Sasol Solar Challenge is the realisation of a dream for their team. The team spent a year working on their car and for them to be in second place currently, means that the project is a success for them. Mahomedy is also a Sasol bursar and added, that for him, the highlight of the solar challenge is the real life application of the theory that they learnt at university.
“I am very grateful for this opportunity, as this has also been an experience of a lifetime for me. This experience has really made me look forward to the working environment,” he said.
This phenomenal achievement from the UKZN team can only build well for them going forward. With the experience they gain at this race, the team will put up a stronger challenge in races to come and could prove to be one of South Africa’s strongest solar teams.