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The waiting game
It’s the final day of competition in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Students from across Europe and beyond have already been breaking records in energy efficiency on the track. They hope to go even further in the coming hours. 178 teams are in the game – all are itching to drive.
Day 6 Morning: Last day of competition
Every moment counts on the last day of Shell Eco-marathon Europe. Students clustered around an open capsule-like car have been waiting for the track to open since 04:20. After suffering a puncture yesterday they are determined to be first out today – even if it means only having four hours’ sleep. The last leg of the Prototype competition runs from 09:00-11:00.
“Today we want to achieve 1,600 km on a litre of petrol.” says Anthony Garandet from the Université Aix-Marseille in France. The car weighs just 32 kilos; without the driver.
They don’t expect to win in their category: fellow competitors Microjoule La-Joliverie are living up to expectations, having already achieved over 3,314 km/l equivalent.
Other teams trailing in this category include youngsters in Team Landermere from the UK. These six 13- and 14 year-olds are currently tenth, but have already exceeded their target. They hope to do even better on their final run this morning. “We’re really happy,” says 14-year-old Rebekah Murray. “We’ve done a lot better than we thought. The whole experience of being here has been great.”
The UrbanConcept cars will compete for the last time from 11.30-15.00. Running in the GTL category is the Texas A&M University from Qatar, which is attending the Europe event for the first time. Their curvy car is covered with a wrinkled maroon fabric – a dense polyester that the team found quick and easy to work with. The students chose to fuel the car on GTL as the fuel is abundant in their country.
“Qatar the largest producer of GTL,” says team member Hisham Uddin. “Our car is a good advert!”
While the award ceremony will not take place until this evening, hundreds of students gathered last night for a cultural celebration. The night’s festivities included dancing, drinking and Dutch delicacies such as chips with mayonnaise.
Team DNV Fuelfighter from Norway, which is entering battery-electric cars in both the Prototype and UrbanConcept categories, had extra reason to celebrate. Yesterday was their national day and, dressed in traditional costumes, the students served Norwegian waffles and ice cream.
“Shell Eco-marathon will contribute to environmentally friendly cars in the future,” says team driver Myselie Ngueyen. She had to fly back home on Wednesday for a job interview at the government Department of Climate Change and Environment. “Our project was a big part of my interview presentation,” she says.