Team Nuon, from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has won the 2013 World Solar Challenge race for solar-power vehicles after a dramatic final leg - in the rain!
Their Nuna7 car, nicknamed the 'Dutch oven' (solar racers have no ventilation whatsoever) completed the 3000km race across Australia's central plain from Darwin to Adelaide, battling heat, dust and gusting side-winds for most of the way, in a little more than 33 hours, at an average speed of 90.71km/h, reaching the end of official timing in the north Adelaide suburb of Angel Vale at 10.03am local time on Thursday.
The race, which is held every two years, started in Darwin on Sunday. Only 10 of the 22 cars in the top Challenge Class made it to the finish, but the defending champions, a team from Japan's Tokai University, stayed within striking distance of the leaders for nearly the whole distance.
NO SUN, NO RUN
The Tokai University car was just minutes behind in second place at the final checkpoint at Port Augusta, but as the clouds rolled in and a light drizzle began to fall, it ran out of power and had to stop at the side of the road, just north of Wild Horse Plains, to recharge its battery.
The Japanese team, winners of the Challenge in 2009 and 2011, eventually crawled over the finish line at less than 30km/h, more than two hours behind the winning car.
Third, several hours behind, was another Dutch entry, Team Twente, just minutes ahead of an team from Stanford University in the United States.
None of them had sufficient power left to make it to the ceremonial finish at Hindmarsh Square in central Adelaide, so they decided to camp overnight to recharge, and complete the untimed final leg on Friday morning - making the winning Nuna7 the only car to reach Hindmarsh Square on Day 5.
It was Nuon's fifth World Solar Challenge win in seven starts; having won the World Solar Challenge in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007, it finished second to Tokai University in 2009 and 2011. - Sapa-AP