Solar Challenge Morocco Day 2
After a very eventful first day, we were motivated to continue our journey through Morocco. Since we arrived 4th in Zagora yesterday evening, we started after Agoria, Twente and Vattenfall this morning. Today was particularly rough because we reached the foot of the Atlas which means steep inclines and sharp turns.
Upon our arrival at the first overnight stop at Zagora yesterday at 6:41pm, we were warmly greeted by the race organization and the other teams who arrived earlier. Most of us didn’t really know what to expect from the campsite in the middle of the desert, but it turned out to be a really unique experience. Whereas in Australia teams have to set up their camp themselves and arrange dinner, we were spoiled with huge tents, real beds and sanitary facilities. When we arrived, there was even a group of musicians who performed for us, so we were definitely experiencing some traditional Moroccan culture. Later in the evening, we had dinner together in one of the lushly decorated tents. We definitely enjoyed the couscous, tajine and fresh fruit before finally heading to bed.
Day 2 of the race started at 6am for us, luckily we had already prepared for early mornings during the last weeks (sadly, it’s still difficult to get up before sunrise). Since we arrived at camp after Agoria, Twente and Vattenfall, Green Spirit was allowed to leave at 08:09am sharp this morning. While we were leaving Zagora, the sun wasn’t fully up yet which resulted in lots of shadows on the solar car. That, in turn, had a negative impact on the efficiency and speed of our car. As a result, Sonnenwagen Aachen overtook us after around one hour of driving. This would technically leave us 5th, but Sonnenwagen had to transport their car in a trailer yesterday due to a lack of time. According to the regulations, cars that complete the whole route by themselves always rank higher than cars that needed a trailer. At this point we didn’t know yet that this rule would become important to us later that day.
Since we arrived at the camp at golden hour yesterday, there wasn’t a lot of time for us to charge Green Spirit. In order to be able to pass the mountains of Day 2, we had to stop for an hour to charge our car at a gas station. With new energy, we entered the Atlas. With a 12% incline, today’s route was the steepest one out of all five race days. Green Spirit surpassed the mountain road with ease which of course made us very happy. Unfortunately, we also realized that we weren’t driving fast enough and might not be able to reach camp before sunset. At 1:48pm we at the second official control stop of the race which meant we had to drive the last 300km within five hours. Shortly after, we made the strategic decision to load Green Spirit into our container and take her to the campsite. Although this means that we will get a penalty for today’s route, we preferred to be safe than sorry. Driving a solar car at night is too risky, especially in an unknown country and through uneven territory.
After arriving back at the camp at 7:34pm, we immediately started preparing for tomorrow’s route. Setbacks are part of the game, but we won’t give up. With that said, we’ll see you tomorrow!