Picture: Jerome Wassenaar

Solar Team Twente set the fastest time on day 2 of Solar Challenge Morocco. The team is still second in the general classification. With solar car RED Horizon, they catched up 6 minutes on the Belgian team, who now have a lead of 12 minutes. The solar cars covered 551 kilometers today through a hilly course at the foot of the Atlas Mountains.

Most challenging stage

Despite the fact that the Twente student team set the fastest time today, the stage between Zagora and Merzouga was quite a challenge. The solar cars had an elevation gain of more than 5400 meters and therefore had to climb a lot. “We did countless calculations and simulations beforehand to see if the car was suitable for this mountain stage. We also tested various technical parts of the car by, among other things, using a motor test setup that we designed together with engineering firm VIRO. Despite all the preparations, we were a little nervous this morning to really go into the mountains,” says race leader Thomas Jansink.

New powertrain proves itself

According to Jansink, today’s success is due to the renewed powertrain that the team presented earlier in the run-up to the race. “The electronic components, such as the electric motor and the motor controller, have been adapted to the hilly course in Morocco. In addition, we recently developed a water-based cooling system to prevent overheating and maximise efficiency,” says Jansink.

It was a beautiful day for electrical engineer Thijs Alberts. “It was very nice to get through the communication channels “Cheers to Thijs!” after the most hilly part of the route. It was good to hear that the motor did well on this difficult stage,” Alberts says proudly.

Special landscape

Driver Paul Heineman drove the first stint through the mountains this morning. “I was a bit nervous beforehand, but in the end it wasn’t too bad at all! It was wonderful to be able to drive through the mountains in Morocco.” Tomorrow Solar Team Twente will drive the third stage of Solar Challenge Morocco, which starts and ends in Merzouga. “We will do everything we can to get closer to our Belgian competitor tomorrow!” says Thomas Jansink. The third stage is 523 kilometers long and has an elevation gain of 3300 meters. The team from Twente will start in second place at 9:03 AM Dutch time.

About Solar Challenge Morocco

On Monday, October 25th, Solar Challenge Morocco starts. This is the race in which solar cars drive over 2,500 kilometers in five days through the various Moroccan landscapes in five stages. This year’s set-up differs from the, now well-known, race in Australia. In the World Solar Challenge (3,000 kilometres), the teams start at the point where they finished the previous day. In Morocco there are stages with a fixed start and finish, a concept similar to the Dakar Rally. The team that covers the total distance in the shortest time wins. During Solar Challenge Morocco, the student team from Twente will compete against teams from Groningen, Delft and Leuven, among others. The race starts and ends in the port city of Agadir and mainly goes through the Moroccan desert. The finish will be on Friday October 29th where they will also announce the winner.

Picture: Bram Berkien