They progressively improved their score in five trails over four days. Their highest was on their fourth attempt. They were prepared to attempt a sixth run, but were ‘15 seconds’ too late for the deadline to enter the track, team members said.
That was not the case in previous years, team supervisor Dr Abdullah al Shabibi said. It’s a lower score than the team achieved with the same car a year ago in Manila, but Shabibi said the result was acceptable. This is especially considering several changes to the competition. The track shape included many more turns than Manila, which previously resembled a simple square. The time limit was also reduced from 29 to 25 minutes, as was the required distance. GUtech team Megalodon would have left with mixed feelings. Sadly, they didn’t pass inspection and were not able to compete.
At the same time, they showed perseverance. When they arrived in Singapore, they found their brake cable was damaged during shipping. Some inspection requirements also changed from Manila, which the team wasn’t expecting, such as the location of the brake handles and the mirrors. The team spent one full day outside the venue shopping for various spare parts, while all the other teams were busy at work.
It was a sacrifice, but it showed their will. They stayed at the arena working until 10pm daily. The team showed some last-minute ingenuity as well, using unconventionally strong magnets they bought to keep the door closed. Their hard work allowed them to pass some inspection hurdles, but in the end it wasn’t enough, and they were stuck at 7/10 passed when the deadline struck. They were among nine teams in the internal combustion engine category not to pass.
At the competition’s last day, Shell Middle East organised a reception for the Middle East and North Africa teams. Egypt had seven teams, and there were others from Saudi Arabia, and UAE in addition to Oman. SQU and GUtech were both honoured for their efforts. Professor Shabibi received a certificate on behalf of SQU, and team leader Mohamed Salman for GUtech. A whirlwind four days will certainly have given the students a rich experience.