Day #1 of the Shell Eco Marathon: 'Sad, but positive'

| Michaela Nesvarova

It's another sunny day in London, but unfortunately there have been some dark clouds gathering above the Green Team. Their first official race day at the Shell Eco Marathon has been full of stress, hard work and a few disappointments.

Photo by: Mechteld Hoeksma

Although the H2∞ was driving perfectly well yesterday during its first practice rounds, troubles occurred during the car's last test attempt on the race track in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The team noticed some unusual data coming from the vehicle and the driver was asked to pull over. Soon after they discovered that a cable inside the vehicle was mildly burnt, which caused some systems to fail.

Due to these issues, the Green Team wasn't able to participate in the first official race rounds this morning. 'Today started very stressful,' confirms Bram de la Combé. 'Our engineers stayed up all night working on the car, double-checking everything. Then we decided not to drive in the morning race session and instead we made our first official attempt in the afternoon.'

Invalid result

Sadly, the Green Team member is not informing me about this first attempt with joy in his voice. Even though the car finished all required 10 laps under the maximum time of 39 minutes, the Green Team's first result is considered invalid. 'Everything went perfect. The speed was good, we only needed to adjust our strategy plan once and we finished with about twenty seconds to spare,' says De la Combé.

So what went wrong? 'Our attempt was invalid, because the official rules say the car needs to both start and finish with a fully charged buffer. Unfortunately we didn't finish with a fully charged buffer, because we took a risk and asked the driver to speed up during the last lap in order to be sure we finish all laps within the time limit,' answers the student.

'We encourage each other'

After so much hard work, such a first day must be disappointing. How does it feel to not be able to set an official result? 'I feel sad, but also positive,' says Bram de la Combé. 'At least now we know that the car is reliable and able to finish all ten rounds in time. After all, we still have two attempts tomorrow, while our direct competitors only have one. For them it's all or nothing. We still have two chances.'

Is the team spirit still strong, after all this? 'Everyone is really busy trying to motivate each other,' says Rhita Addi. 'It's hard work here, in the heat and pressure, but we encourage each other.'   

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