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Belgian solar race team crashes, but remains confident for the upcoming challenge

The Belgian team which is taking part in the Carrera Solar Atacama in Chile, a race for vehicles running on solar energy, is confident for the future despite crashing during the qualifying round.

The Belgian team in South America has 25 members, most of them engineering students at Leuven University (KU Leuven). Three of them, Jasper Schrijvers, Pieter Galle and Kris Cornelisse will act as drivers. 

The race is one of the most extreme of its kind: participants need to steer their vehicle through the dry and hot Atacama desert and across the Andes mountain range, as they travel from the capital Santiago to the north. 

We are confident our solar car can be at the start in top shape

During the qualifying rounds, things went wrong in the second lap: when the vehicle was at full speed, driver Pieter Galle lost control when he was braking too hard. The vehicle ended up in the grass, but the driver was okay and the team can go on with the car, though they need to replace certain items. 

Stil, the Belgian team - the only European team taking part - remains confident. They were the only team to pass the technical tests completely. "We still believe we can start this adventure and have a happy ending", Pieter Galle said. "We are confident our solar race car will be at the start in top condition." After the accident, Belgium will have to start in last position, as they failed to post a chrono in the second lap. 

Despite the crash, Galle said "I am hungry to take on this challenge."