Japanese maintain lead as South Africa’s NWU clocks more distance than TUT for first time
Dutch to start second from Port Elizabeth on sixth day of Sasol Solar Challenge
Port Elizabeth, South Africa – Japanese solar team Tokai maintained their 36-kilometre lead over world champions Nuon on the fifth day of the Sasol Solar Challenge. Ending at the Aldo Scribante Raceway today, the two Challenge frontrunners each covered a distance of 575 kilometres on public roads between Graaff-Reinet and Port Elizabeth. Tokai has now completed 2,611.6 kilometres, placing them first on the start line on Thursday.
Starting behind those international teams at 7h30 on Thursday will be the South African car, Phoenix, from North-West University. This is their first top-three start of the event, achieved after resolving electrical and battery challenges with their car, that enabled a full 444.6 kilometres. Behind them will be the Tshwane University of Technology, clocking 249 kilometres on Wednesday.
Sonke Siyakude, the high school team from Pretoria, South Africa, completed 171 kilometres. The Central University of Technology covered their first distance today, completing 64 kilometres, placing sixth, ahead of City University’s sustainability car, which did 27 kilometres.
The Swiss team had a challenging fifth day. Taking wind damage to the cockpit cover, their car SER-3 is mechanically and electrically sound, but only completed 173.4 kilometres today. The team is hard at work in the pits of Aldo Scribante Raceway to make sure all is in order for the Port Elizabeth to Sedgefield route tomorrow. “We were disappointed that we couldn’t do more distance today, but we were encouraged by the incredible turnaround that TUT made earlier in the Challenge when their car was damaged,” said Han Wang, spokesperson for the Solar Energy Racers. “We’ll make sure to reinforce the critical parts in preparation for the strong Cape winds – our strategy is always ‘safety first’.” They’ll be ninth on the start line tomorrow, following late-entry penalties.