RALLY PREP DAY
OSLO, NORWAY - (May 10, 2009) Competitors from Italy, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, England, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, and the USA began gathering in Oslo today in preparation for the Viking Rally, an international rally for hydrogen cars, electric cars and plug in-hybrid cars. Starting in Oslo and finishing in Stavanger at the the Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS) , the rally consists of transport stages and special stages; the latter are run either on track or road and include regularity tests, hill race stages, acceleration tests and auto slalom. Organized by ZERO, KNA, the Norwegian Automobile-Sport Federation, Norstart and HyNor, the rally will start May 11 after the official opening of the Hynor Hydrogen Road and a hydrogen fueling station at ěkern, Oslo.
Among the competitors are World Rally superstar Hennig Solberg, American eco racer Leilani Münter, and His Royal Highness Prince Haakon, the Crown Prince of Norway. Two hydrogen fuel cell Ford Focuses arrived in Oslo today for the two race car drivers Hennig Solberg and Leilani Münter. One car came from Iceland, and one came in from Germany. Unfortunately for Leilani, her Ford's driveshaft was damaged during transportation from Germany and the car is not working at this time. Ford, Zero, and Viking Rally organization is working furiously to fix the driveshaft in time for her to compete in the rally tomorrow.
Teams start with zero points and the goal is to keep your points as low as possible. Penalty points are awarded to teams if they arrive late during a maximum time stage, arrive early OR late for an ideal time stage, arrive early OR late for a regularity test. For times trials (where speed is the goal), all drivers receive penalty points for the number of seconds it takes to complete the stage.
(May 11, 2009) There were four rally stages today. The first two stages were transportation sections where teams were required to stop at certain checkpoints and navigate to the next station. Leilani and Suzanne ended stage one tied for first place with 23 others that received no penalites but received a 20 second penalty in the second phase for not arriving within their 60 second timeframe for the ideal phase. Both race car drivers struggled during the third phase - the regularity test, with Leilani arriving 1:47 minutes early and world rally star Hennig Solberg arriving 3:09 minutes early. They both received penalties for their early arrival and finished last (Solberg) and second to last(Münter) in their class. "I am not used to being punished for arriving at the finishline early," joked Münter after seeing their results, "However, it is quite expected that slowing down is not in my or Hennig's nature."
Next was the hillclimb, where for the first time in the rally speed was a rewarded and both Leilani and Hennig could shine. World rally star Hennig Solberg, as expected, finished first with a time of 29.5 seconds and Team Hunt Green/Carbon Free Girl finished second
, tied at 32.0 seconds with up and coming Norwegian rally car driver Marlene Engen. Results Hillclimb: Klasse 1 (Hydrogen cars)
Viking Rally Rolls Out with Royalty and Race Car Drivers
Crown Prince Haakon, Leilani Münter, and Hennig Solberg Open Viking Rally
(May 12, 2009) Leilani and Suzanne stepped up their game on the second day, arriving with no penalites for all the transportation stages and winning stage 10's regularity test
(the stage she and Hennig received the most penalty points the day before for arriving early) by arriving within 11 seconds of the perfect arrival time. Results Stage 10: Regularity Klasse 1 (Hydrogen cars)
Things were about to turn sour for the American girls when the driveshaft that had been fixed on Monday morning broke during Münter's second turn in the first slalom challenge. The team was done for the day while the car was sent to be repaired, therefore missing the final three stages of the day and receiving the maximum penalty for each phase. Even though it is now impossible for Team Hunt Green/Carbon Free Girl to win the rally, the car will be fixed and they will finish their final stages tomorrow (while taking extra care of the right front driveshaft, of course).
Unfortunately, the #2 hydrogen fuel cell Ford Focus was not able to get a new driveshaft today, but the Ford and Zero mechanics have fixed the car as best as possible. As a result, the Hunt Green/Carbon Free Girl team was not able to compete in the autoslalom event on Day 3.
However, the girls were able to compete in the acceleration phase where turning the car was not an issue and therefore there was no extra stress on the driveshaft. Team Hunt Green/Carbon Free Girl finished second in Hydrogen class in the acceleration phase
with a time of 12.0 seconds and beating the other Ford Focus driven by WRC driver Hennig Solberg by one tenth of a second. Results Stage 15: Acceleration Klasse 1 (Hydrogen cars)
In the final regularity test, the Hunt Green/Carbon Free Girl team came in 5th place. Results Stage 17: Regularity Klasse 1 (Hydrogen cars)
. Even though the girls posted great results in the phases they competed in, due to missing several phases on Day 2 and Day 3 the team was unable to compete for a podium finish in the rally.
Prince Albert of Monaco was at the finish line waiting to welcome the rally teams arriving in Stavanger to kick off the start of the 24th annual Electric, Fuel Cell and Hybrid Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition.
"I had a great time participating in the Viking Rally," said Leilani, "this event brought together people from all over the world, uniting us through our mutual goal of using clean renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. It was an honor to be a part of such a symbolic and hopeful event."