The corona pandemic had already been the reason that the organisers of the World Solar Challenge in Australia cancelled the biennial race which usually attracts the best in the racing world. (Phto: Vattenfall Solar Team)
The corona pandemic had already been the reason that the organisers of the World Solar Challenge in Australia cancelled the biennial race which usually attracts the best in the racing world. (Phto: Vattenfall Solar Team)

The TU Delft solar racers will have to compete in the Solar Challenge in Morocco without their coach now that Morocco has closed its doors to flights from the Netherlands.

Lees in het Nederlands

The first problems loomed just before the Solar Challenge Morocco started. The Netherlands was red on the map and yesterday (20 October), Morocco put the Netherlands on red alert. All flights from the Netherlands to Morocco were cancelled.

For the TU Delft students of the Vattenfall Solar Team this means that their team coach, Marc Lammers, will not be able to join the team.

The solar car race is scheduled to be held from 25 to 29 October in Morocco. This is in place of the World Championship solar race in Australia that was cancelled because of corona.

“This is really bad news,” says team member and PR staff member Steven Mitchell Tan. “Lammers knows exactly how to keep us on the ball mentally.”

‘It is also a bitter disappointment for the students’ parents who are now unable to be there’

The rest of the team has already been in Morocco for a month and, according to Mitchell Tan, is well prepared. “We have been practising here now for four weeks. We heard from the organisers that the race will go ahead on Monday.”

“We will see if Lammers can work with us on the race online. It would be good if he can prep our racers online.”

“It is also a bitter disappointment for the students’ parents who are now unable to be there to watch,” continues Mitchell Tan.

They do not know yet whether the team members will be able to return to the Netherlands immediately after the race. “We may have to fly back through another country.”

The corona pandemic had already been the reason that the organisers of the World Solar Challenge in Australia cancelled the biennial race which usually attracts the best in the racing world. This meant that several leading teams, including the Vattenfall Solar Team, signed up for the Solar Challenge Morocco, a new race in Morocco. This year this competition is seen as the unofficial World Championship solar race. Now, less than a week before the start, the solar race in Morocco too is hit by corona.

In 2019, title defender Vattenfall Solar Team was leading the race in Australia when the NunaX suddenly caught fire just before the finish line. The Belgian Agoria Solar Team overtook and won the race. The TU Delft students hope that they will take back their title with their Nuna11. While most competitors opted for a bullet shaped design, the Vattenfall Solar Team designed a sort of catamaran on three wheels.

The race involves five diverse stages that take in Morocco’s busy urban traffic, mountains and desert. The unpredictability of the traffic and the weather conditions are the main factors that the solar vehicles have to be prepared for. Every detail of the race can be followed on this site.