Belgian Innoptus Solar Team leads the World Solar Challenge

Il team belga Innoptus Solar è leader del World Solar Challenge
I leader Innoptus Solar del Belgio

Belgian Innoptus Solar Team set a blistering pace in the first day and the blue car with a revolutionary fin, open the way of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

With the Northern Territory temperature, a blazing 38 degrees, Belgian Innoptus Solar Team, driving Infinite, was staking an early claim on a second consecutive Bridgestone World Solar Challenge championship.

To do that they’ll need to be able to hold off the flying Dutch. Team Twente, in RED X, who suffered bad luck in 2019 when they were blown out of contention by the notorious Stuart Highway crosswinds have today overtaken Brunel to move into second place. Changing design this year, from catamaran to monohull, appears to be paying off so far. The lionhearted Brunel team and seven times champions, also from the Netherlands, is in a tussle with Twente and will be trying to keep Innoptus in range.

Il team belga Innoptus Solar è leader del World Solar Challenge
I team aCentauri (85 – Svizzera), Western Sydney (15 – Australia) e Sun Shuttle Team (80 – Cina) al control stop di Dunmarra

Innoptus is now through NRMA Barrow Creek Control Stop, 284 kilometres north of Alice Springs, with Twente and Brunel waiting out their mandatory 30 minutes before the can resume the chase. The question is being asked can the Dutch catch up?

Innoptus’s Infinite is travelling at around 95 kilometres per hour and has been steadily widening the gap from Twente’s RED X, now some 70 kilometres behind, who is engaged in a close-fought contest with Brunel in third place. German team Sonnenwagen Aachen who were early leaders, are in fourth position around 70 km behind Brunel, with Japan’s team Tokai staying in touch 60 km behind but travelling at a slightly faster speed. They are followed by US team Michigan in Astrum just 30 km behind who have now drawn ahead from Top Dutch and Japan’s Kogakuin in Koga who are having a tussle of their own.

Il team belga Innoptus Solar è leader del World Solar Challenge

On Day Two of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, 223 kilometres now separates these top eight teams. Australia’s Western Sydney University is the highest of the Australians in the Projecta Challenger field, playing catch up in Unlimited 5.0, after a slower than predicted first day – they are just over 400 kilometres from the lead.

In the CSIRO Cruiser Class, Sunswift in Sunswift 7 continues to dominate on the points score, by consistently carrying more than two passengers. They were the first to arrive at Tennant Creek, the first designated overnight charging stop for the Cruiser Class. In this strategic contest, teams must balance energy and efficiency and have a target arrival time of 2pm and a 5pm cut off – points are deducted for late arrivals. Sunswift have made this critical first window. Estonia’s Solaride, Minnesota’s Gaia, Australia’s ASCEND, Taiwan’s Apollo IX, Thailand’s STC4 and China’s Sunshuttle IV are all on track to arrive before 5pm. Australia’s Flinders University unfortunately could not resolve its battery issues and are now in the non-competitive Adventure Class. 

Source: World Solar Challenge

Photo: WSC and Dario Ruggeri – EMN

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