Belgian solar vehicle takes the lead in Chile

The Punch Two, the solar vehicle of the Belgian team, has taken the lead after day 1 in the Carrera Solar Atacama Chile. The race for solar energy powered vehicles is said to be one the world's toughest of its kind. 

The Belgian team, which mainly consists of engineering students from Leuven University (KU Leuven) had to start in last place after a hiccup in the qualifying rounds. However, the vehicle took the lead on the race day, which started in the capital Santiago de Chile.  

The Punch Two was escorted by local police to leave the capital. "Maybe they thought we couldn't go faster than 50 km/h, because they detained us a little when we reached the motorway," explains Jasper Schrijvers, one of the drivers. "But when this issue was solved, we went full gas."

The vehicle had a small technical problem outside the capital, losing just a couple of minutes, but the cruising speed was high enough to make up for this. Competitors will drive into the mountains today, reaching altitudes of 3,400 metres. "The weather is quite unpredictable here, and this will be a real challenge", explains team member Ruben Dekeyser. 

The unpredictable weather will be a real challenge