Nuon on the brink of another World Solar Challenge win
Updated: Tokai suffers rain delay
World Solar Challenge The “Dutch oven”, Nuon Solar Team, is tantalisingly close to claiming Challenger-class line honours from its shadow since Darwin, Team Tokai from Japan.
Passing the Atfinish of timing of the World Solar Challenge at 10:03 am Darwin time, at Angel Vale in Adelaide's suburban north, Nuon maintained its lead over Tokai. The Japanese team maintained a pace close to that of Nuon for nearly the whole race, which is a remarkable achievement over 3,000 km.
There's still one last aria to be sung in this particular opera, however. From the end of timing point, vehicles still have to reach Hindmarsh Square in central Adelaide. This run is rather like the last day at the Tour de France: it's procession rather than competition, except that if a team hasn't retained enough power to reach the finish, or if it suffers a mechanical breakdown, a follower is allowed to pass.
A few hundred kilometres – and therefore a few hours – behind the leaders are Challengers Team Twente, Stanford, Punch Powertrain, Solar Energy Racers, and Team Arrow. UNSW's Sunswift is currently in front of the Cruiser class on the road, but with more than 600 km to travel, there's plenty of time for things to change (not to mention that the cruisers will still be awarded points for the practicality of their designs after they reach Adelaide).
Your correspondent for this report is happily indoors in Sydney, with APAC editor Simon Sharwood currently
streaking carefully obeying South Australia's 110 km/h speed limit as he heads southwards away from Coober Pedy. ®
Update: The weather still has a hand in events. At just after 10:30am, race organisers Tweeted that Tokai has had to pause just north of Wild Horse Plains to take its array off and try to get some extra charge, due to bad weather in Adelaide.
The unscheduled stop is regrettable, since the finish won't reflect the race. Most of the 3,000 km distance, Tokai has been within striking distance of Nuon.
However, with around 200 km between it and the third-placed Twente - and with everybody likely to suffer in the cloud - Tokai is unlikely to give up its second place.
Meanwhile, Nuon has secured its win by reaching Hindmarsh Square. ®