The Agoria Solar Team may call themselves European champions for the second time in a row. Today, the Leuven student team was the first to cross the line of the iLumen European Solar Challenge. On the Zolder Circuit, the Belgian solar car managed to drive the highest number of laps in 24 hours. It is the second European title and fourth consecutive gold medal for the Belgian team, which will participate in another racing challenge in the Moroccan Sahara next month.
Problems before the start
On Friday evening, the Agoria Solar Team drove a few test laps in preparation for the European Championship that was to start the following day. Due to an unexpected maneuver by another solar car on the track, the Belgian team had to swerve and sustained damage to the car's suspension. This brought the tests to an early end and for a while it was uncertain whether the Belgian team would be able to participate in the European Championship. After a long night of repair work, the Leuven students managed to get their solar car ready in time for the start of the competition.
"The night before the start we had to end our tests early after an unexpected maneuver from another team. This made it uncertain for a while whether we would be able to participate in the European Championship. But after a long night of work, we managed to get the solar car ready for the start of the race."
The iLumen European Solar Challenge lasted 24 hours and took place at the Circuit de Zolder in Belgium. At 1 p.m. sharp, teams from universities across Europe started the championship. The Agoria Solar Team participated in the race with their 2019 solar car, the BluePoint, and crossed the finish line with the highest number of laps. It is the second time in a row that the Belgian team can call itself European champion. At the 2020 edition, the BluePoint managed to complete a record number of laps.
"It's really fantastic to be able to win European Championships here in our own country. The competition was tremendously strong, but we proved once again that the Belgian solar car belongs to the world's top."
From start to finish, it was a nerve-wracking neck-and-neck race between the Belgian and Dutch Solar Teams. The difference between the teams was in the strategy, due to a difference in tactics the Dutch team from Twente stood still twice as long as the Belgians in order to recharge their battery and bridge the night. Valuable time which the people of Leuven used to the full to build up a nice lead. In the end the Agoria Solar Team finished two laps ahead of their neighbors from the north.
The Belgian Solar Team will leave for Morocco next week for their next international competition. Over five days, the engineering students will travel 2500 kilometers through the Sahara and along the foot of the steep Atlas Mountains. As current world champion and brand new European champion, the Belgian team will give everything to win prizes in Morocco as well. The Solar Challenge Morocco starts on Monday, October 25 and runs until Friday, October 29.
Source: Solar Team