Rally Race, Day 1
Today began the rally race, and all 11 cars lined up at KUAS ready to depart at 9:00 AM. Due to the finish at the circuit race, Borealis III was the eighth car to leave the university. We began driving down the southwestern coastline on our way to the timed sections. The weather was not conducive to a solar car race, as clouds and eventually a bit of rain marred the entire day. Still, we approached the first timed section with batteries full and excited to give it a go.
The mood in the car was tense as Borealis III pulled up to the first starting gate. No one knew quite what to expect, but quickly the countdown reached zero and we were off! The vans we were riding in cannot accelerate or corner nearly as well as the solar car, so as Adem zoomed ahead, we soon lost sight of him and the car. After every twist and turn of the track, we saw nothing but open road. The excitement was building.
Alas, this was not meant to last. Motor controller issues caused the system to lock up, requiring a power cycle in mid-section that cost us at least a minute. Such problems would continue to plague us the rest of the day, and we ended up in sixth place. While not as high as we would have hoped, we are generally happy with the way things went today and have confidence that tomorrow we can make up some ground.
September 18, 2006