by Jeroen Haringman
Today, the teams drove the qualification on the Yas Marinas Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Each car had to drive a minimum of 250 km, and each driver had to drive a minimum of 50 km. Most teams managed to achieve these minimums, except for three. Surprisingly, Tokai University got stuck just below the minimum when their motor overheated and was damaged. Team Okinawa had damaged their motor controller computer yesterday, and were only able to start around noon. The Illinois team didn’t make the minimums because they had problems with their solar array.
SOCRAT drove the most laps (81), followed by Punch Powertrain Solar Team (79) and the University of Michigan (77). So, quite close together in the top three.
During the evening team meeting, it was announced that all teams would start in the road event tomorrow, and all got issued the official UAE licence plates. The three teams that did not qualify will have to enter discussions with race officials tonight, so I can imagine some sort of penalty being imposed.
Tomorrow (January 16th) will be the first road day of the event. The solar cars will start from the Yas Marina Circuit, make their way through the city of Abu Dhbai, and then drive to the UAE University in Al Ain. From there, the teams will return to the Abu Dhabi region, where the event day will end at Masdar City. In total, a distance of 366 km is to be covered, in a maximum of eight hours. As the sun is less than 45° above the horizon in this time of the year, the solar arrays on the cars will not collect as much solar energy as, for instance, in Australia in October. This, combined with the relatively short distance, means that the car’s batteries will play a relatively large role in this event, and the solar arrays less so.
I don’t have a solid plan yet for how I will cover tomorrow’s events. Of course, I’ll make sure I’ll be present for the start and post plenty of photos to the social media. I’ll probably shoot some video of the start as well, but I won’t be able to post that until at least the evening. After that, the solar cars will travel through the city. I am not going to do that, I’ll probably wait for them where the route exits the city, to get some photos and perhaps video. After the first few teams have passed, I’ll probably make my way to the UAE University to wait for the teams there.
Of course, I won’t be able to post anything while I’m driving, so expect fewer updates on the social media than today