Dutch team Nuon Solar has made it three wins in a row at the World Solar Challenge, crossing the finish line first in Adelaide this afternoon.
The team, which also won in 2013 and 2015, seized the lead early on in the 3,000 kilometre race from Darwin and never looked back, after the fleet of almost 40 teams set off on Sunday for the journey through Australia’s red centre.
Starting the day about 500 kilometres north of Adelaide, Nuon cruised south at speeds around 110 kilometres per hour and were still two hours ahead of their nearest rival when they reached Port Augusta.
A few hours later they reached Victoria Square, where the team’s members made their traditional dash for the fountain at the end of the epic voyage.
“It’s such a weird feeling because we’ve doing this thing for one-and-a-half years, and all of a sudden it’s ending,” Nuon Solar Team member Sarah Bennink Bolt said.
“It’s not just a team, it’s been everybody I know for the last year-and-a-half, it’s been all my friends and my family.”
Ms Bolt said her team knew exactly what was happening with the weather, as cloudy and rainy conditions took over yesterday.
“You’ve got to build a really good car … you have to have a really good strategy, and we had a satellite car that helped us down the way and we were checking the weather all the way,” she said.
“You have to have a bit of luck … it’s an amazing feeling.”
Further back the battle for second and third was much closer, with the American Michigan team and Belgium’s Punch Powertrain battling it out.
“We’re certainly nervous, they’re pretty close,” Michigan’s Andrew Dickinson said earlier today.
“We have to stay on our game, we have to just keep racing our own race and how it shakes out is how it will shake out.”
But Michigan was able to hold on to finish second.
Most of the fleet is spending another night camping in South Australia, and will reach Adelaide tomorrow.
This year’s edition of the biennial race marks 30 years since it was first held in 1987 to showcase the emerging power of solar energy.