World Solar Challenge 2019: We catch up!
At 5:30 the alarm clock rang. Just in time for sunrise the breakfast was prepared for the team. While the majority of the team took care of dismantling the tents, our electrical engineers were already working on optimising the sonnenwagen for the next leg to Tennant Creek, the longest leg of the race to date. The stage extended a good 400km through the Red Desert of Australia.
With our rider Jenni, we had a lot of women’s power at the wheel and we arrived at Tennant Creek shortly after 12 o’clock in anticipation of another relaxed race.
But the stage to Barrow Creek had it all!
At first our driver Oli was able to leave a competitor behind by a skilful entry into the sonnenwagen, who spent much longer at the checkpoint.
In the course of the track, however, it came to a real head-to-head race, with some overtaking manoeuvres! Due to the many convoy vehicles of the teams it came to unusually dense traffic in the outback and some confusing moments for Oli, who lost in the meantime eye and visual contact to our escort vehicles. But due to good anticipation and reaction we were able to leave the two competitors behind us and drive into Barrow Creek, the fourth of seven checkpoints of the race.
About 40km behind Barrow Creek we got nervous again, because suddenly a dense cloud cover came up, why the solar car didn’t gain enough energy through the solar cells. This circumstance forced us to stop the sonnenwagen and convoy as soon as a gap appeared in the cloud cover.
Fortunately this place was not far away from a public campsite, so we didn’t have to sleep completely in the bushes.
Since it is obligatory at the World Solar Challenge to park the race car punctually at 5 p.m. where it is and to start the next stage of the next morning exactly at this point, we had to mark the spot, transport the sonnenwagen in the evening first a few kilometres to the camp and back again in the morning.
On the third race day we will probably reach Alice Springs, the desert metropolis in the heart of Australia.
It remains exciting!