10 October 2017

The Belgian Solar team is getting closer to the fourth place

On the third day of the world championship for solar cars, the Belgian Solar team is still ranked fifth. But the team is getting closer to the top four. The Japanese team Tokai is only 8 minutes ahead. 

The Belgian Solar car drove 574 kilometers today with an average speed of 72 kilometers per hour. Due to the clouds, the teams had to drive slower than the past few days. This made the strategy even more important. The students of the University of Leuven are satisfied with the third raceday. Race pilot Bert Longin: “We had a very good day despite the weather. Last night we had a long meeting with the weatherman and we made some strategic decisions. In the afternoon we were able to get some speed and we got closer to the number three and four.”

The students of the University of Leuven are on the heels of the Japanese team Tokai. At 5 pm all the solar cars have to stop driving and the teams have to set up their tents next to the highway in the desert. The Belgian team is camping near the Japanese team, only 8 minutes behind them. This morning, the students were 70 kilometers behind the Japanese, right now they are only three kilometers behind them. The team of the university of Twente is also very close by. “We are still aiming the top three. We still have a lot of energy and tomorrow we will try to get more speed.”

 Second participation for Longin

 It is the second time that professional pilot Bert Longin participates in the race with a Belgian team: “This year I was involved a lot earlier in the project. I have been able to help the students with the design of their car. Even here, in Australia, I try to help them a lot. For example, I give the other two pilots some tips about how to handle the heat in the car.”

 The temperature in the solar car can rise up to 50 degrees. In addition, the pilot has very little space to sit. With 3D scans, the team built the cockpit around the pilot. “It is not really comfortable”, says Longin. “Yesterday i drove for nearly five hours. After that long drive my legs and my back hurt, but that is of course part of the game!”

 Longin has already participated in many races, but the World Solar Challenge is special for him. “It’s back to basics: camping in the desert, cooking yourself, working on the car with the means you’ve got”, says Longin. “This is really out of my comfort zone, it is a big challenge. But i am really excited about this project and I am really proud of the team. It is amazing what these men can do, thumbs up!”

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