Team Sonnenwagen Aachen at the Solar Challenge Morocco 2021

Even good coffee can't beat a night in the tent

Written by: Marlene Hirzel

I sleepily open my sticky eyes. Music can be heard in the distance. Some annoying song that is hard to bear. Especially at this time of day. The clock shows exactly 5:00 am. The music gets louder, footsteps approach. I hear annoyed grumbling from the tents next to me. Team Sonnenwagen's wake-up service consists of two people walking through the camp playing loud music. It was a short night in the uncomfortable tent. But the solar race doesn't wait. The next day of racing in the 2019 World Solar Challenge in Australia has just begun.

Certainly one of the things I haven't missed since my time with the solar car team in the Australian outback. Today, two years later, I'm sitting in my ergonomically designed office chair in the comfort of my home office after a pleasant 8 hours of sleep. In front of me a hot coffee, the smell of which brings a satisfied smile to my lips. And one thing is exactly the same as it was two years ago: I can hardly wait for the third race day of the Solar Challenge to begin., The next stage of the race will start any minute now – this time in the Moroccan desert of Africa.

Apart from that, everything is different from two years ago: Back then, I was a reporter covering Team Sonnenwagen's adventures in the Australian outback as part of the best internship in the world. Today, I'm a Social Media Manager following the solar car race in Morocco, organized by the participating teams themselves, in front of a 24-inch screen in my home office in Cologne.

The pandemic has changed everything. Usually, more than 30 international teams participate in the World Solar Challenge, supported by professional organizers and event sponsors. This time, there are only 7 teams from 5 countries eagerly awaiting the race to show the world what solar energy, innovative technologies and motivated teams can do. The Solar Challenge Morocco is the replacement for the cancelled World Solar Challenge in Australia, which usually takes place every two years. Team Sonnenwagen is taking part and even helped organize the race.

I am in contact with the team in Morocco via instant messaging. After all, the Internet connection on site is significantly better than that in the Australian outback. Where is the Covestro Photon – the new solar car of the Team Sonnenwagen – right now? Is the driver okay? Often I wait several hoursfor an update, remembering the shocking accident in Australia two years ago. Team Sonnenwagen's Instagram profile has a new top fan: me.

You can find out how Team Sonnenwagen performed in the Solar Challenge Morocco on their social media channels. These are linked on their website. Since I was only able to follow the race virtually this year, I'm super excited to talk to the team soon and get their first-hand impressions.

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