The Leading Gap Closes on Challenge Day 3
15 Oct 2019
As they near the home stretch, the leading teams are making for an exciting final two days of their journey to Adelaide.
The top Challenger teams crossed the border today, covering around 600km as they passed through Alice Springs and Kulgera before heading into South Australia.
Speaking to teams this morning, the leaders were all focussed on strategy for the day ahead, with weather playing a factor. Headwinds and cloud cover meant slightly slower speeds across the board.
"This morning went pretty good - we didn't see any other cars." said Markus Eckstein from Team Sonnewagen Aachen e.V as he arrived in Alice Springs at the control stop.
"Strategy for the rest of the day is to see what the weather does - the forecast has changed a little bit, so we'll wait to see, and then go at a good pace towards Kulgera".
Vattenfall Solar Team remained confident throughout the day, and near the end of the day started a live stream on their YouTube where Solar Team Twente's chase car was visible up ahead.
With just minutes to go until end of day, they stopped less than 1km short of Twente, who still remain in the provisional leading position.
Both teams are around 45km away from the Control Stop at Coober Pedy, where they'll have under 1,000km until they cross the City of Adelaide Finish Line in Adelaide.
The Cruiser Class cars are a bit further back on the Route, passing through Alice Springs today after their overnight stop in Tennant Creek. Read more about their first charge since Darwin here.
What does this mean for Challenge Day 4? A change in leader is possible within the first hour tomorrow. Vattenfall could overtake Solar Team Twente, or perhaps the leaders will hold strong into Coober Pedy.
The other Challenger leaders are still in contention, although they'll need to work hard to gain some time tomorrow - Agoria Solar Team from Belgium is around 20 minutes behind Vattenfall, and German team Sonnenwagen are a further 20 minutes behind in fourth position.
Aside from the leaders, the rest of the field continues to work just as hard as those up ahead.
At end of day today, 10 Challenger Class teams have trailered, with 7 Cruiser Class doing so as well. When a team has trailered, this means that at some point they have had to put their solar car on a trailer, either due to technical and mechanical issues with their car, or in order to reach a control stop during the allocated time.
These teams remain in their original class, but are no longer in the competitive group.
Despite being considered no longer competitive though, the teams have a valuable opportunity that they are taking advantage of. Teams are gathering data on their car to use in future Challenges, as well as enjoying an incredible experience in the Australian outback as they camp their way along the Stuart Highway.
Speaking to their community on their website after their battery incident on Sunday, Stanford Solar Car Project spoke to this sentiment beautifully;
"Following this disappointing result in an endeavor which we were all so invested in, our team has found it helpful to focus on the positives: our pride in the calm and professional manner with which we were able to handle an emergency situation, the continuing experience of traveling the WSC race route alongside other teams, and the knowledge that the race is only the final step in the vast experience that is building one of these cars, getting it to Australia, and successfully qualifying to race"
As the teams head downhill from the middle of Australia, the excitement is certainly growing for the City of Adelaide Finish Line. The teams will all cross the line in Victoria Square, celebrating an incredible journey of not only the last week, but years of hard work and passion.
All are invited to the City of Adelaide Finish Line from Thursday 17th to Sunday 20th of October to celebrate the end of another BWSC, cheer the teams on as they complete their journey, and check out all of the activites on offer. Find out more here.