"We are now race-ready," declared Mon Agustines, Team Solar Philippines Manager and President of the Philippine Solar Car Challenge Society, Inc. last Thursday. Agustines is part of the 14-man team that is now in Darwin, Australia to prepare for the upcoming 2011 World Solar Challenge set to begin on Sunday, October 23.
The country's third solar car underwent a procedural "static scrutineering" at Foskey Pavilion in Darwin Showgrounds as part of the race requirements that determines the qualification of the car to join the 3000 km cross-continent race from Darwin to Adelaide. The solar car passed all tests for batteries, solar cells, measurements and overall safety based on the rules and regulations set by the WSC committee.
The race started yesterday at Darwin Square, and according the to last update from race organizer's website, the Philippine contingent has passed Katherine in Australia, logging a total of 317 kilometers as of late Sunday.
The race is a friendly competition amongst teams from around the world to promote solar energy. During the 3000 km journey there are 7 mandatory check points where observers are changed and team managers can update themselves with the latest information on the weather and their own position in the field. Teams may perform the most basic of maintenance only - checking and maintenance of tire pressure and cleaning of debris from the vehicle.
Members of the Filipino community in Darwin gathered the starting line to cheer for the Philippine team. The team expects to reach the finish line after four to five days of driving in the Australian outback just in time for the awarding ceremonies in Adelaide on October 23.