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Twente Take Top Spot After Challenge Day 1

Twente Take Top Spot After Challenge Day 1

13 Oct 2019

Twente Take Top Spot After Challenge Day 1

Solar Team Twente from The Netherlands set the pace in ‘RED E’, the smallest car in the competition, with an early lead in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, reaching the first control stop of Katherine in just over four hours at 12.08 Darwin time, leading the field by 8 minutes.

Speaking to one of the team's drivers, Mariska, during their control stop at Daly Waters, she said that the team was incredibly excited to command such a lead today.

"I'm very very excited. Still no other cars [have passed us] which is great; at the last control stop I think there were 8 minutes between us and the next car, and now there's about 20, so that's really good. We'll see if we can make the distance between us and the second car bigger."

 

Coming from fifth on the starting grid, they overtook Dutch compatriots Top Dutch Solar Racing, Germans Team Sonnenwagen Aachen e.V., Japan’s team Kogakuin University Solar Car Team and Belgium’s Agoria Solar Team, signalling an early intent to lead from the front.

By the second Control Stop, Daly Waters, Team Twente had extended their lead over Top Dutch to 25 minutes, arriving at 3.32 pm.

As expected, the 2017 Dutch champions, Vattenfall Solar Team, had been making their way through the pack, and were the third team to reach Daly Waters, with their Nuna X just two minutes behind Top Dutch’s Green Lightning. At the end of the first day, Team Twente was in the lead and camped 56 kilometres north of Elliot and 679 kilometres south of Darwin with Vattenfall, Agoria and Top Dutch camped together at Dunmarra, and University of Michigan Solar Car Team and Sonnenwagen camped just to the north.

At 5pm, Japan’s team Tokai University Solar Car Team was through the Daly Waters Control stop, just past several teams camped there for the night, including Australia’s Team Arrow, Japan’s Kogakuin and NITech Solar Racing, Canada’s Blue Sky Solar Racing, and Sweden’s JU Solar Team.

There was incredible disappointment for one of the BWSC’s most consistent performers, with USA team Stanford Solar Car Project in Black Mamba suffering a significant battery incident. It is hoped they can continue to participate in a non-competitive capacity along with Team Solaris from Turkey and Thailand’s Siam Technology team in STC3 who have both trailered.

Cruising at around 75 kph, to manage energy and meet strict time windows at Control Stops, two solar electric Cruisers are also camped at Daly Waters – Cruiser Cup 2017 Champions, Solar Team Eindhoven from the Netherlands in Stella Era and Australia’s Sunswift in Violet.

New national team, ATN Solar Car Team, in Priscilla, was just a few kilometres north of Daly Waters. Unlike the Challengers, the Cruisers are not judged on speed, but criteria including energy efficiency and design appeal.

The 15th Bridgestone World Solar Challenge takes place between Darwin and Adelaide, South Australia from 13-20 October 2019.

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