University of Calgary

Race strategy heats up

July 21, 2008

Clock ticking for Calgary

The race to reach Calgary in the 2008 North American Solar Challenge (NASC) is heating up after rain hampered the start of Stage 4 from Winnipeg on Sunday and forced many teams to carefully plot their plans of attack for making it to the finish line on Tuesday.

“I am really pleased with our progress. Our strategy worked like clockwork and we are really well placed for the drive into Medicine Hat,” said Darshni Pillay, the U of C Solar Team’s operations manager. “We’ve had to take some penalties but I think they will pay off because it has put us in a good position going into the last two days and we haven’t had to trailer our car as much as much as some of our competitors.”

Half the cars were missing from the starting line in Winnipeg as teams including the U of C chose to trailer their cars out of the city since the early morning skies were filled with rain clouds and charging up depleted batteries wasn’t an option. The U of C team trailered Schulich 1 to the first checkpoint 200 kilometres west in Brandon, where the car was unloaded and spent one hour charging thanks to clearer skies. From there, driver Tiffany Veltman maintained a pace of about 80 km/h that enabled the car to make it to the next checkpoint in Regina just 15 minutes before the end of the racing day. Schulich 1 was the only vehicle other than the first-place car from University of Michigan to reach the Regina checkpoint on Sunday.

“This puts us in a good place to start today because the skies are clear and we will roll out from the checkpoint and won’t have to stop again until Medicine Hat, except to change drivers,” Pillay said.

This evening’s arrival in Medicine Hat will be a homecoming for Schulich 1 driver Jeff Wickenheiser, who was raised in the Gas City and plans to take the car across the finish line for Stage 4, followed by a team dinner hosted by his grandparents.

“It has been great to see how many people are behind us and excited about the race since we returned to Canada, and it's exciting to think that some of my family will be at the finish line today,” Wickenheiser said.

Follow the race on the U of C Solar Team’s blog at: www.ucalgary.ca/blogs/solarteam

For more information, visit:

U of C Solar Team website: www.calgarysolarteam.ca
U of C’s 2008 NASC finish line event website: www.finishline.ucalgary.ca
2008 NASC website: www.americansolarchallenge.org

To arrange media interviews and obtain photos or video from the race, contact:

Grady Semmens
U of C Solar Team
Cell: (403) 651-2515
Email: gsemmens@ucalgary.ca