Estonian teams won grand prizes at electric cars rally

Estonian teams won the grand prizes of the electric cars rally Electric Marathon Tallsinki – Monte Carlo 2018, which travelled through 10 countries and consisted of 30 intermediate finishes. The last stage and the trophy in the universities category was won by the team of Tallinn University of Applied Sciences, composed of Robert Arlet Uusna and Mart Pärtel with Nissan Leaf EV. The Estonian crew composed of Avo Väliste and Kaido Sõmer with a Tesla Model S were the best in the free class category.

During the ceremony in Monte Carlo, prizes were awarded by F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg and His Excellency Bernard Fautrier, Minister of Plenipotentiary and the Vice President of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

The second place in the universities category was taken by the united team of Kaliningrad universities; Keio University team from Japan came in third place. Finnish representatives from Aalto University and South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (XAMK) from Kotka came in fourth and fifth, and the women’s team from the International University of Monaco came in sixth place. The second place in the free class category was taken by the two-time champion of the previous electric cars rallies, Team Särtsuauto from Estonia, and third by a Czech team. A Pobeda M20, which was rebuilt into an electric car and represented Estonia, reached the finish line in dignity and was fourth. In total, 48 teams participated in 10 different cars; 10 teams covered the whole distance.

Toomas Arike from Team Särtsuauto commented that charging batteries was difficult, as there were so many cars in the race. ‘It was interesting, but also difficult to follow the historical route from the 1930s, to cross nation borders, enjoy the peace of the province towns, and tolerate the traffic chaos in the big cities. We draw lots to determine the driving sequence; therefore, there were situations when the luck of the draw created the ranking. As the competition was high and a lot of mistakes were made, we often did not know who the leader was in points scored in different stages. The days were 16 hours long, and the judges could barely compute the results of the stages. We also did not know where and how to charge the cars of the university teams at the end stages of the rally, especially in the last stages in France,’ told Arike. ‘Nevertheless, we managed to cope, because of the experience of the rally organiser Jüri Tamm, the network in Europe, and the determination, which put the schedules in place and wheels rolling. It was easier in the free class category, because the mileage of Tesla cars is significantly higher than the Nissan Leafs, and accessing the Tesla superchargers is more comfortable. I was pretty sure we could make it. Also, the Estonian-Ukrainian technicians’ convoy team did an excellent job. It is nice to be back on the podium in Monte Carlo.’

F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg said, ‘I am honoured and pleased to be with you, because the environmentally friendly world view and active lifestyle makes all of us devote ourselves to our goals, to find interesting and enlightening solutions, and to be a role model to many ordinary citizens and young people all over the world. After seeing the route and having conversations with you, it was immediately clear that, despite the positive developments in new technologies in the world, it is far from easy to travel on European roads with an electric car. It is difficult to access infrastructure in most countries, frequently open only to permanent residents, and the amount of charging stations does not meet the growing numbers of electric cars on European roads. You have done a great job. I know from my own experience how hard it is to follow the ‘O’ car while following the speed limits. Congratulations to all the winners and participants!’

Jüri Tamm, the main organiser of the Electric Marathon and Honorary Consul of the Principality of Monaco in Estonia acknowledged His Highness Prince Albert II for his support and trust, the diplomatic representations in Estonia of the countries participating in the rally, fellow honorary consuls, Tallinn and other cooperation-friendly cities and organisations throughout the route, the office of Nissan Nordic Europe in Estonia, Eesti Post, the organisers of Hamburg’s Climate Week, the universities of different countries, national Olympic committees, Maestro Kristjan Järvi, and the organisers of the Usedom Festival, as well as all the supporters and sponsors. ‘Without you, we would not be here today. It would be impossible to move from yesterday to tomorrow without you,’ stated Tamm.

The supporters and partners of the Electric Marathon 2018 are the city of Tallinn, Nissan Nordic Europe, Plus & Plus Capital, Balkin Estates, Benefit, Baltais, Burisma Holdings, e-Line, Avex, Sun Beam Production, Netpay, Erojs, Woolish, Liisu, Tiki, Reisiekspert, Viking Line, Radisson Blue Hotel, Scult, Russia Charity Foundation.