Rotterdam 2015

Friendship trumped rivalry again today after Danish team DTU Roadrunners woke up to find their UrbanConcept ethanol car had caught fire in the paddock overnight. An electrical problem was suspected. While the engine compartment and firewall were badly damaged, said team spokesman Christian Goertz, many critical components were still intact.

The Roadrunners’ main rivals, Toulouse Ingénierie Multidisciplinaire (TIM) from France, stepped in to help, putting the Roadrunners in touch with team CATI Toulouse, who had aluminium panels to spare for bodywork repairs. TIM captain Michelle Loo said, “We see them as friends, not competitors. It’s normal that you help each other at such an event.” 

Tomorrow is the first competition day. Watch this space to see if the Roadrunners make it to the track. 

By late morning, 40 cars had yet to reach the technical inspection area for the first time, perhaps a littler slower than previous years. Technical team member Adrian Jurgens was impressed by the atmosphere of calm as teams tried to pass, then came back and tried again.

“The students are listening carefully to our feedback this year,” he said. “There’s very little anxiety.”

Rapid weight loss

Team Universiapolis Createurs from Morocco arrived at technical inspection a full 11kg over the 140kg Prototype weight limit. They had built their gasoline-fuelled car called – perhaps unfortunately – Minimiza 2.0 on a stainless steel frame with a thick fibreglass body.

Assistant manager Malik Reda Oikil explained how their car lost weight without compromising safety. With advice from technical inspectors, the team drilled big holes into its steel frame, removed a floor panel under the engine, then cut out sections of fibreglass  to replace them with lighter Plexiglas used in the windows. At the last count, its weight was 140kg and falling.