Rivals chip in to help get NWU’s solar car to starting line after ‘freak accident’

23 September 2016 - 14:52 By TMG Digital

The driver was unharmed‚ but the “injuries” to the solar car he was driving were feared to be “far worse”. That was the aftermath of a freak accident which saw the North West University (NWU) entry in the Sasol Solar Challenge - Sirius X25 – “upended by a sudden gust of wind” during a time trial on Thursday.Driver Estienne Janse van Rensburg was assisted by ER24 paramedics‚ but was reported to be unhurt.Sirius X25 didn’t fare so well‚ and its “injuries” included “damage to the solar panels‚ the non-load bearing structure‚ the cabin exterior‚ the wiring and parts of the chassis”.“Our initial thoughts were that Sirius X25 would have to withdraw from the challenge‚” NWU said.“And then a miracle started happening: in the spirit of cooperation‚ other participating teams - including international participants - not only encouraged us to repair Sirius X25 within the remaining 48 hours‚ they also offered their assistance.”NWU said the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research also helped out by making its facilities available to effect repairs‚ and “alumni who were part of previous solar car teams voluntarily reported for duty!”Sirius X25 team leader Professor Albert Helberg said this “aid and support makes students experience how team spirit‚ camaraderie‚ working till the candle´s wick is burnt and staying calm can transform a crisis situation into a unique opportunity!”They hope to have the car ready in time for the start of the Sasol Solar Challenge from Pretoria to Cape Town‚ which kicks off on Saturday.– TMG Digital

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