Solar car Green Spirit wins qualification and starts first

The Groningen students of the Top Dutch Solar Team are full of confidence at the start of the Solar Challenge Morocco on Monday morning. They won the qualification on Sunday, which meant they were the first to start.

‘The qualification confirmed for us that the solar car is ready for the race’, says team captain Aymar Berkel. The ‘Green Spirit’ was the first to leave the Moroccan town of Agadir on Monday morning ten o’clock.

Over the past week, the team has put the car through its paces, making it slalom, do figure eights, race, and brake. During one scary moment, the Green Spirit rolled over, but there was barely any damage, says Berkel. 

Long days

The team, consisting of students from programmes ranging from engineering to communication, has been in Agadir for over a month. While they haven’t had many setbacks, Berkel describes ‘long days and the technical team working through the night to prepare the solar car for the race’.

The flight restrictions between Morocco and the Netherlands, which took effect on October 21, didn’t have any serious consequences. Except for one alumnus, the entire group was already present. The former joined the team later. ‘He flew from Brussels to Agadir’, says Berkel.

In spite of the competition, the various teams have been having a really good time together, says Berkel. They help each other whenever necessary, and they even held a tandem race. From now on, however, each team will be focussing on its own performance.

Cancelled

The five participants will drive the five legs of the race over the course of the week, finishing in the Adrar station in Agadir, where the race also started.

It is the first time the Solar Challenge is held in Morocco. Once every two years the World Solar Challenge is held in Australia. But when that race was cancelled because of the strict Covid-19 restrictions in Australia, several teams came up with the idea to organise an event in Morocco.

During the last race in Australia, the Groningen team came in fourth place. The team was the first of twenty-six teams to start back then, too.

Dutch

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