WMU News

Wrong turn drops Sunseeker to sixth place

July 19, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- A wrong turn onto an expressway cost Western Michigan University's Sunseeker a critical 45 minutes and dropped the solar racecar to sixth place as official standings were posted after the close of day six of the 2,300-mile American Solar Challenge.

According to team advisor Abe Poot, Sunseeker was well on its way to a Thursday night arrival at the mandatory layover in Albuquerque, N.M., when the team turned onto an expressway too early and lost 45 minutes getting back to the point where it needed to be. Unable to get to Albuquerque by the official close of that race day, the team stopped for the night in Moriarity, N.M., and traveled the last 50 miles to Albuquerque Friday, July 18.

The team from the University of Missouri-Rolla remains in first place, while the University of Minnesota is in second place, and Waterloo in third place. Those three teams made it to the Albuquerque, N.M., checkpoint by the close of Thursday, July 17.

With 1,420 miles of racing completed and all the penalties to date factored in, the time for the race leader, the University of Missouri-Rolla, stands at 34 hours and 40 minutes. WMU's Sunseeker time is 40 hours and 53 minutes. The WMU team is two hours ahead of the seventh place team and less than an hour behind both the fourth- and fifth-place teams from Missouri-Columbia and Principia.

All competitors were in Albuquerque by the afternoon of Saturday, July 19. The entire 20-car field restarted the race from there at 9 a.m. Sunday, July 20. That day, the competitors left Albuquerque at one-minute intervals, based on their standings, and headed for Gallup, N.M.

"We will have to make up some time going to Gallup on Sunday." team advisor Poot said during the Albuquerque layover. "We hope to get to Flagstaff, Ariz., by the end of the day. That is about 330 miles. Our batteries are charged and we have quite a climb Sunday to get to Flagstaff."

To follow the July 13-23 race as it unfolds, go to the ASC Web site at <www.formulasun.org/asc>. The site includes a map of the route with information about stops and the location of the race leader. A daily update link carries information about the last know location of each team and discloses current standings, miles completed and time elapsed.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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