Dutch Solar Car Wins Australian Outback Race
SYDNEY Dutch team Nuon won the eighth World Solar Challenge on Wednesday, piloting their bug-shaped car in record time across the vast, inhospitable Australian outback.
Nuon's Nuna 3 car beat 21 other entrants from around the world over the gruelling 3,000 kilometres (1,860 miles) race from the tropical northern city of Darwin to Adelaide in South Australia state.
Using nothing but the power of the sun, Nuna 3 appeared to have broken its 2003 record of 30 hours and 54 minutes. Race director Chris Selwood said timings were yet to be made official but it seemed likely that Nuna 3 had set a new race record.
"It's great, it's fantastic," Nuon team member Anne-Marie Rasschaert told Reuters.
The race began on Sunday and Nuna 3 averaged about 100 kmh (62 mph). Overcast, rainy weather was expected to slow the progress of the rest of the field.
Rasschaert said cutting-edge engineering and team work had secured Nuon's third consecutive race win. Nuon's 11 team members are engineering students aged 21-25.
"Nuna 3 is lightweight, it has good aerodynamics...it's the best car in the world," she said.
The race was devised as a challenge to design and build solar-powered cars using the most innovative application of alternative energy and transport technologies.
This year's cars were built by corporations and universities from around the world, including Japan's Ashiya University, Iran's University of Tehran and Queens University in Canada.