Girls team from Qatar win first hybrid-electric motor-racing challenge

The all-girls university team took first place in the motorsport challenge with a difference - where the team that travels the farthest using the least amount of fuel is the winner.

University teams from around the Arabian Gulf took to the Al Forsan’s kart circuit for the region’s first hybrid-electric challenge. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
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ABU DHABI // An all-women Qatari team has won the capital’s first hybrid-electric challenge.

Team Gernas 114 managed a total of 101 laps in the final race on Friday evening, earning them the championship.

The Taqa GCC Hybrid-Electric Challenge is a motorsport event with a difference, where the team that travels the farthest using the least amount of fuel is crowned the winner.

They were given just a basic kit to build a one-seater vehicle and had to use their knowledge of fuel efficiency.

The cars were allowed to run only on battery power during heats and used their remaining power in the final.

Each car is allowed just 1.5 kilowatt hours of electrical energy and 3.8 litres of petrol.

Chresteen Fareed, the leader of the winning team from Qatar University, said the event had been a great experience.

“We are so proud to be titled as champions of the first-ever challenge. Taking part in this event has given us the chance to take what we have learnt in the classroom and apply it to a real-life situation,” she said.

“It has been hard work and we have learnt a lot but, most importantly, we have had fun.”

There were 120 students in 11 teams taking part in the challenge.

Students form the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi University, UAE University, Khalifa University, Masdar Institute, Nizwa College of Technology, in Oman, College of Technological Studies, in Kuwait, and the Qatari winners spent five months designing and constructing single-seater, lightweight hybrid cars following race designs and safety rules.

During the Electric Grand Prix stage on Thursday, students had to see how far they could drive their vehicles using just battery power for one hour.

For the Hybrid-Electric Grand Prix stage, students had to combine petrol and electric power to travel the maximum distance on the least amount of energy in three hours.

Dr Saif Al Sayari, the head of energy solutions at Taqa, the Abu Dhabi-based international energy company, congratulated the winning teams.

“These past two days have been a great opportunity for all of the students involved. We at Taqa are thrilled and extremely proud to have brought the region’s first hybrid-electric car challenge to Abu Dhabi. The event has been a huge success and we hope to welcome more teams back to Abu Dhabi next year,” he said.

More than 100 people attended Al Forsan International Sports Resort over the two days to meet the teams and find out about the cars, the building process and its challenges.

The event was sponsored by Taqa and hosted by the Petroleum Institute.