Dunmarra, Australia – The Vattenfall Solar Team rises to the second place on a scorching hot, first racing day of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The team qualified for an eighth starting position yesterday. Team leader Maud Diepeveen is confident about the coming race days, although the gap with the front runner Twente remains large.
Photo by: Hans-Peter van Velthoven
Tom Salden (23) was the first driver of the day, and left Darwin shortly after 8:30 local time. Tom: “The circumstances were very tough. It was blisteringly hot in the cockpit of our solar car NunaX, the temperature was about 50 degrees Celsius. I was soaked when I arrived at the control stop.” The race takes place on the public road, therefore drivers have to deal with regular traffic. Tom: “You have to deal with so-called roadtrains, trucks which can be up to 50 meters long. It can be a bit scary to pass these roadtrains with a car of only 130 kilos, but it went perfectly!”
The Vattenfall Solar Team started the race in eighth position, based on the qualification results. Maud Diepeveen (22), team leader: “We are very satisfied about today. Our drivers overtook 6 teams today and put us in the runner-up position, which is quite impressive. Right after the start of the race we had a technical problem, due to a disconnected cable of our solar array. After a quick fix, NunaX was able to continue. We drove a total of 633 kilometers today, a great first day!”
Dutch teams dominated this first racing day. With Twente in first place, Delft in second position and Groningen in third, the tricolor shows that they belong to the top of the competition ‘Down Under’. Maud: “The coming days we will do everything to get in lead.”