The World Solar Challenge has been won by the Dutch team in their superquick Nuna7, their solar powered car crossed the finish line more 100 kilometres ahead of closest rival Japan.
Hindmarsh Square was the scene of jubilant celebrations as the Dutch team, Nuon, cruised into the centre of Adelaide for the trophy presentation after completing the 3,000 kilometre road journey from the top ends capital, Darwin.
It marked the fifth win in the event for the team, who have now competed seven World Solar Challenges, the team will lead a victory parade through the streets of Adelaide on Sunday October 13.
The race was close right up until veteran Japanese team Tokai, lost its battle with cloudy skies closing in on the finish line, while Tokai was stuck on the side of the road with a flat battery, Nuon powered on passed to take line honours ::::
The Nuon team from Delft University, in the Netherlands claimed their title back today in the Challenger class as they crossed the finish of timing line first in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The team took 33.05 hours to drive Nuna 7, 3021 kilometres on solar power averaging a speed of 90.71 kilometres per hour.
Dutch coach Wobbo Ockles said it was a wonderfilled feeling. “The biggest pleasure you can get in your life,” he said.
Both Nuon and its main rival, veteran Japanese team Tokai, had to battle cloudy skies and rain nearing the finish, The Dutch and Japanese teams were just minutes apart at the final checkpoint – Port Augusta – 300km from the finish line.
While Tokai was stuck on the side of the road with a flat battery, Nuon had more power because it had been harnessing energy in extra solar collector panels the team used while the car was stationary, a strategy was within the race guidelines.
Team Nuon say the conditions were much worse than expected. “We were really afraid things could go wrong in the end,” one member said.
Nuna7 managed an average speed of 90.71 kilometres per hour and it took just over 33 hours to complete the 3,000 kilometre trip from Darwin.
Eventually, Tokai crept into Adelaide early this afternoon at a speed of just 30 kilometres per hour.
Tokai’s Hosam Bukhary says they are still glad to have been runners up.
“We had so much pressure. Our battery was about to end and we stopped, we had to charge,” Bukhary said. “We were afraid we were going to come third or fourth but fortunately we could come second – of course we would like to come first but Nuon was really strong.”
The remaining 40 cars, including Australian teams Arrow and Swift, will not arrive until at least Friday thanks to the cloud cover.