Thursday, October 25, 2007
1,000 km to go for Sinag Team
SINAG, the Philippines' first fully-functional solar car has breached the 2,000 km distance from Darwin to Cadney Homestead today, passing Alice Springs, the halfway point of the 3,000 km. stretch of the World Solar Challenge. Since the start of the Challenge, SINAG has jumped to 11th place and continues to maintain this lead in the Challenge Class of the race, which has about 40 participants.
According to SINAG’s technical personnel, the solar car has been performing better than expected since the start of the race on October 21, Sunday. SINAG was easily able to surpass the 1,000 km mark without needing to rely on auxiliary power –an option which, although allowed by contest rules, would result in a reduction of the team’s overall score. The team has also managed to correct a minor problem with SINAG’s brake system which was causing the car’s tires to wear out faster than expected, prompting frequent tire changes. Since then, Team SINAG has experienced no further major technical difficulties and has more than made up for lost time.
"We are making good time so we can make it to Adelaide by Saturday or early Sunday morning," said lead driver Eric Tan. "We just need to reach the next designated control stops before the deadline in order for us to be able to continue to race. Missing two control stops will disqualify us." Tomorrow, SINAG will make its ways to the last two control centers in Glen Dambo and Port Augusta, before the finish line in Adelaide.
Despite its good showing, the team remains cautiously optimistic of its chances of finishing the prestigious race. For certain, the De La Salle University-Manila students already feel triumphant the solar car they have built from scratch is performing better than the other entrants from other countries. "Whether or not we finish this race, we feel we've already accomplished our goal of building a working solar car and letting people at home know that solar power is a viable and reliable source of energy," said Robert Obiles, student team leader. "Plus, this has been one great big adventure." he added.
It's not everyday that Filipino mechanical engineering students get to race and camp out in the outbacks of Australia. the Filipino team was especially elated upon passing Ayers' Rock, one of the most popular natural landmarks in the Australian continent.
The SINAG solar car was designed and built by a group of dedicated faculty and students from the Mechanical Engineering and the Electronics and Communications Engineering Departments of De La Salle University –Manila, with the support of Ford Group Philippines, Motolite, Philippine Airlines, San Miguel Corporation, Shell, SunPower, U-Freight, and Ventus. The project is also supported by Aurora, Cabrera Lavadia and Associates, JWT, Creasia, Merritt Partners, Tuason Racing School, Gochermann Solar Technology, and Stratworks.