Flying doors, failing brakes and last-minute visa problems didn’t dampen team spirits at the Shell Eco-marathon Europe on Friday, the first official competition day.
Still hoping to catch a lucky break, France’s Exergie Prototype gasoline team worked through the night to fix their broken brakes but failed the technical inspection again on Friday. Although more than 165 teams passed by late afternoon, Exergie did not struggle alone.
Most of Ukraine’s LSA Khadi AIS were still driving across France with the team tent, hoping to reach London tonight after visa delays. One US team, in London for Sunday’s Drivers’ World Championship, offered to share their room with the Ukrainian team members who have already made it.
A door flew off Norway’s OUC Shell Eco car as the UrbanConcept ethanol vehicle sped around the race track, but they didn’t let it ruin their day.
“The whole event has far exceeded my expectations,” team member Nikolai Laastad said.
University of Southampton have dreamt of even having a door for weeks. Their fibreglass body never arrived, leaving just a metal chassis and a month to make their own shell.
Heading into the last day of technical inspection, all three teams face a race against time.
“Officially technical inspection is already closed,” says Gilles Vanier, technical director of SEM Europe. “It will definitely close at 3pm on Saturday.”
The award ceremony for the UrbanConcept category is on Saturday afternoon; there’s little time to spare.