World Solar Challenge: the last effort towards the finish line in Adelaide

World Solar Challenge: l'ultimo sforzo verso il traguardo di Adelaide
Belgian Solar Team Innoptus with Infinite

Belgian Solar Team Innoptus has claimed back-to-back Bridgestone World Solar Challenge titles with a time of 34 hours, 4 minutes, and 41 seconds 48 minutes faster than their 2019 win.

Unlike the 2019 drama filled final day, today’s push to the finish line was smooth sailing for the Belgian team that has led almost the entire way from Darwin. The Belgian’s aerodynamic Infinite, with its futuristic fin designed for stability seemed to revel in the tough, windy conditions that proved challenging to many in the Proejcta Challenger Class.

World Solar Challenge: l'ultimo sforzo verso il traguardo di Adelaide
US team Michigan in Astrum

The team crossed ahead of a valiant Team Twente from the Netherlands. Throwing all they had at the Belgian team, their solar car RED X, pushed so close, at times within minutes and sharing NRMA Control stops together. RED X celebrated second place with a time of 34 hours, 24 minutes, 58 seconds.

Their compatriots, Brunel in Nuna 12 arrived in Adelaide around two hours later, to take third place. Also expected in this afternoon, US team Michigan in Astrum.

Disappointing news for German team Sonnenwagen from Germany in Covestro Adelie were forced to retire south of Port Augusta.

In the CSIRO Cruiser Class, wind was also a factor, with none of the teams able to complete the arduous second stage, the first time this has happened in the history of the class. All Cruiser teams had the opportunity to take a full recharge at the designated charging station at Coober Pedy and can now demonstrate the abilities of their cars in the final stage, before presenting for practicality judging on Saturday.  The on-road scoring component will be calculated from the last completed stage.

These solar electric cars of the future will have their moment in the sun on the finish line tomorrow.

The CSIRO solar electric Cruiser Class had their moment in the sun today – arriving on the City of Adelaide finish line from 1pm.

World Solar Challenge: l'ultimo sforzo verso il traguardo di Adelaide
Team Twente from the Netherlands

Leading the charge on energy efficiency points, Australia’s Sunswift 7, was the first to celebrate under the arch, followed by US Minnesota team in Gaia second place on the points tally.

Supporters of first time Estonian team Solaride were bowled over by the performance of their solar electric car, Solaride 2. The Solaride team was greeted by one of Australia’s most renowned fast bowlers, Brett Lee, who has been supporting the team along the way.

Event Director Chris Selwood AM acknowledged the difficult conditions this year’s team faced.

‘After successfully completing the first stage, driving from Darwin to Tennant Creek where they could charge externally, none of the teams were able to complete the arduous second stage – the first time this has happened in the history of the class – Chris said.

‘The teams in this event are testing cutting edge technology, often not in market and driving beyond the range of current electric vehicles. To win the Cruiser Class takes a combination of strategic energy management, endurance and more than a little style. These solar electric cars designed to bring the green to the mainstream have never been about being first across the line. Judging for the cruisers combines the on-road component, which will now be calculated from the 􀏐irst stage, followed by the practicality judging tomorrow – Chris said.

A panel of international adjudicators will score each entry based on design innovation, environmental impact, ease of access, interior comfort, style, and desirability.

Other Cruisers to cross the line today included, Taiwan’s Apollo IX, Aussie entrants and Deakin University team ASCEND. Also celebrating their adventure were Flinders Automotive Solar Racing team in Investigator IV, Thailand’s Siam Technology in STC-4, China’s Sun Shuttle, Italy’s Futorosolare, and Hong Kong’s VTC in Sophie 8.

World Solar Challenge: l'ultimo sforzo verso il traguardo di Adelaide
Team Brunel with Nuna 12

Projecta Challenger Class teams also continued to cross the finish line today.

Japan’s Team Tokai who made it into Adelaide last night, just over one minute before close of day, celebrated on the finish line first thing this morning. They were followed by Netherlands Top Dutch, Ju Solar from Sweden, Japan’s Kogakuin and Australia’s highest placed Challenger, Western Sydney in Unlimited 5.0. Rounding out the Top 10 still competing was Canada’s Eclipse. Expected across the line today are UK’s Durham in DUSC2023.

With the strong headwinds and smoky conditions eight teams to date have been forced to trailer, with potentially more unable to make it into Adelaide before 6pm.

Event Director Chris Selwood AM congratulated the Innoptus Solar Team on their magnificent achievement.

‘This professional, innovative, and passionate team have always been strong competitors. Their hard work has paid off. They have competed in this event nine times, and they now have the ultimate reward,’ Mr Selwood said.

Source: World Solar Challenge

Photo Credits: World Solar Challenge

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