Exciting duel in World Cup Australia: Belgian and Dutch team battle for leader's spot
Coober Pedy, Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2023
Tuesday, 24 October - The Innoptus Solar Team remained in the lead today in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the World Solar Car Championship taking place in Australia. Their pursuers, the Team from Twente, were able to make up some of their deficit, stranding just 24 kilometres from the Belgians. Over the next two days, both teams will pull out all the stops to take home the coveted world title.
KU Leuven students were able to stay ahead today with their solar car, the Infinite. The team from Twente started a catch-up race today. As a result, the Belgians ended the day with a lead of only 24 kilometres. With 884 kilometres to go to the finish in Adelaide, the next few days promise to be an exciting battle between the Belgians and the Dutch. The team from Delft also follows closely, at a distance of 90 kilometres.
"We started first today and managed to keep the lead until the end of the day. Solar Team Twente made up some ground and are right on our heels. The end will be very exciting."
Mick De Zeine (23, Hoegaarden), Aerodynamic Engineer at the Innoptus Solar Team
Today, engineering students completed part of the route between Alice Springs and Coober Pedy. This part of the route is known as "very challenging". In the past, some participants had to drop out here after going off course due to strong crosswinds. Today, the Belgians were able to use their rotating fin skillfully to get through this dreaded passage. This fin not only improves the car's stability, but also reduces energy consumption thanks to the sailing effect. The energy saved will come in handy in the coming days as they prepare for the final sprint of the race.
"We drove today between Erldunda and Coober Pedy in a lot of crosswinds. In previous editions, this has always proved a very difficult stretch for the solar cars but we were able to drive through it very smoothly today. This is partly due to our rotating fin, which allows us to sail into the wind. This gives us extra energy gains because it pushes the solar car forward and also makes it more stable."
Gilles De Baets (26, Brugge) Pilot at the Innoptus Solar Team
The next few days promise to be very exciting. The leaders of the general classification will not make it easy for each other. With 884 kilometres to go before the finish in Adelaide, anything is still possible. The team believes in their strategy and looks forward to the advantages it will bring in the coming days. The students expect to cross the finish line on Thursday.
"Today was very sunny so we were able to generate a lot of energy with our solar panel. The battery is well full again. Unfortunately, because we started to drive a little slower, the competition did get a little closer. However, now that the battery is a bit fuller again, we believe we can compete in the coming days and hopefully still cross the finish line first in Adelaide."
Frederik Vanmaele (24, Aalter), Strategist at the Innoptus Solar Team