As the 2016 Sasol Solar Challenge teams headed through the Free State on the third day of the eight-day event yesterday, the weather became a serious obstacle for the first time.

Strong cross-winds and a burst of rain near Gariep Dam forced teams to either take shelter under bridges with their cars, or put their cars on their trailers to keep moving through the storm. Japanese team Tokai measured a top wind speed of 115.2km/h on their mobile weather station yesterday.

“The teams covered good distances despite the weather yesterday,” says Winstone Jordaan, Sasol Solar Challenge director. “They’re starting to experience the challenging, diverse weather conditions that the South African event has to offer – and it’s incredible to watch them strategize and push ahead.”

Many of the teams use mobile weather stations on scout vehicles to plan ahead for the day’s journey.

The University of Johannesburg team covered 360.4 kilometres today, beating South African rival North-West University by just under 15km. This despite the UJ car failing the scrutineering process, forfeiting the first stage of the event to work on their vehicle, and experiencing suspension problems on the second day. Dutch team Nuon accumulated the most distance, clocking in at 605,6km.

Due to scrutineering standards, the Turkish Anadolu team still do not have distance on the clock as their vehicle has not been deemed up to standard.

Today the eleven teams travel from Gariep Dam Forever Resort via Middelburg to Graaff-Reinet.