UKZN’s solar car, Hulamin, has successfully completed the 3 022km road journey between Darwin and Adelaide in Australia in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.
The exhausted yet ecstatic team crossed the finish line 13th out of 42 starters, 29 of which raced in the Challenger class.
The race took the team of UKZN Engineering students and staff 47 hours, 53 minutes and 59 seconds of actual driving, over five and a half days.
The Nuon Solar Team and Solar Team Twente – both of the Netherlands – finished first and second respectively while Team Tokai Challenger of Japan was third.
‘It was a tough race that required a lot of hard work,’ said UKZN co-team team leader, Dr Clinton Bemont. ‘We were on the go all the time and hardly had a chance to relax. Now I’m looking forward to a good shower, time to relax and a beer!’
‘The team is exhausted but happy to have finished two days before the cut off,’ said Academic Leader for Mechanical Engineering, Professor Glen Bright, who flew out especially from South Africa to meet the UKZN team at the finish line.
‘I am very proud of their achievements. While they had to deal with resource constraints, they overcame many challenges along the route to emerge as worthy UKZN and South African contestants.’
‘Well done to all the UKZN Solar Car team members and support group. You have done your University and country proud!’ he said.
‘Thank you! We could not have done this without the help we got from all our supporters,’ said Ms Kirsty Veale, the team’s other co-leader.
UKZN’s Dean of Engineering, Professor Cristina Trois, was full of praise. ‘I am very proud of this achievement and very excited about the team’s return to South Africa,’ she said.
Patron of the UKZN Solar Car Project, Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, was equally delighted. ‘This is wonderful news,’ he said. ‘My hearty congratulations to the whole team. We are all very proud of you for flying the UKZN flag high down under. Viva Halumin Viva.’