'Everyone cried a little'

| Michaela Nesvarova

The Shell Eco Marathon has ended, and so has the yearlong journey of the Green Team Twente. Not exactly with a 'bang', one might say. After the student team failed to set a valid result during the race on Saturday, the mood was rather low. How are they looking back at their experience now?

Photo by: Niek Erents

The main driver Nienke van der Werf had tears in her eyes after the last - and failed - attempt on the race track, but now she is smiling. 'We did everything we could,' she says. 'Of course it was a bit sad at first. I think everyone cried a little. But we managed to switch. There is a good atmosphere in the team and we ended our time in London with a great party in the parking lot. It's been an amazing experience, overall.'

Too hot

'It's crazy to realize it's all over,' says the team's second driver Isabel Koopman. 'After the last attempt, I felt sad at first but then I thought about it and realized we actually drove whole fifteen rounds. The car worked, so it felt like a good closure. I'm happy and very proud of our team. I don't think we could have done anything differently. The fuel cell overheated and that was simply because of the enormous heat here in London. We couldn't really prevent that.'

The hydrogen fuel cell of the car is built to operate at the maximum temperature of 60°C, but the team's Technical Manager Luc Djozin-Kemadjou informs us that, due to the extremely hot weather in the UK's capital, the fuel cell reached the temperature of 115°C during the last attempt. This - combined with the possible interference from the Shell's telemetric system and small mistakes made by the team - led to the team's failure to set a legitimate score at the competition.

'Rollercoaster of emotions'

'It's been a rollercoaster of emotions,' adds Djozin-Kemadjou. 'First we were so happy the car drove, after our last-resort fixes with aluminium foil. After failing, though, everyone of course felt sad and angry. But in the end we know we have the best car around here. It's just a shame we didn't get a chance to show it.'

'We did everything we could,' believes the team leader Feike van Veen. 'We are feeling quite well now. Naturally we are a bit sorry about the result. We were all very sad, but we realized we could just stay sad or we could move on. We raised our heads, we evaluated and we organized a great party with many other teams. We are proud. The team worked so well together. It's been great. I think that is how we all feel: it's been a great year.'