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Too close for comfort?
The final day of competition has arrived. Ninety-three cars have made it through technical inspection. Now drivers must give it their all on the tough new circuit that has unsettled even the most seasoned teams.
Day 4: Morning
It’s 8am on the final morning of competition at Luneta Park. The song “Nothing’s gonna stop us now” by Starship blares out across the site. Thai team Luk Jao Mae Khlong Prapa may identify with the lyrics – yesterday they took the lead when they managed over 1,750 km/l equivalent in their ethanol-fuelled Prototype.
“Today we are aiming for 2,000 km,” says team supervisor Narongdech Keeratipranon.
Hot on their heels
Close behind the leaders is another team from Thailand, How Much Ethanol, who yesterday drove almost 1,500 km/l. Their booths are next to each other and, as students wipe the winning car with a cloth to make it shine, How Much Ethanol are keeping their vehicle protected in what looks like a large black sock.
Back home the teams’ universities are only around 30 km from each other. They have shared parts – but not tactics.
“It’s healthy competition that pushes the students,” says Narongdech. “But if they win I will feel sad!”
Both team drivers must take care today, as each has received an official warning from track marshals for overtaking without sounding the horn. A second warning would remove their best distance from the scoreboard; a third would mean disqualification.
Among the UrbanConcept cars, which include features for real drivers, ethanol is also leading out of the liquid fuels: Team Mesin Polnep Diesel Team from Indonesia has recorded over 100 km/l.
Team ITERBO3 from Singapore remains ahead in the UrbanConcept battery electric category, with over 98 km/kWh. Their car includes a solar panel on the back.
“It's like using your mobile phone while your charger is plugged in," says team member Muhammad Firdaus "Thanks to the panel the electric battery won't drain as quickly.”
Another energy-efficient approach comes from team Cikal Diesel, with a lime green car resembling a small London cab with camel humps. They shaped the body from a single piece of aluminium.
“We use less material this way and force is distributed evenly throughout,” says team manager Felix Jonathan. “It’s lightweight and so saves fuel.”
Distance isn’t everything
As teams continue to compete on the track, a jury has been reviewing entrants for the off-track awards. The categories include communications, vehicle design, perseverance & team spirit, technical innovation, safety and Helix tribology, which assesses how teams have best lubricated their vehicle.
“We have our shortlists,” says Joseph Reyes, one of two jury heads. “But to win, any team must also have a valid driving attempt – some need to get a move on!”
The UrbanConcept competition ends at 2.30pm and the Prototype at 5pm. Continue to view the live results and watch out for the final winners list later.