There has never been such a close call in the world's largest solar electric vehicle race. At the start of the final day of racing, the Dutch team Twente was less than three minutes behind the leading Nuon Solar Team. The weather was cloudy which prevented the battery charging and since Nuna8 had not much energy left in the battery, it was not even sure if the team would make the finish line.
The last kilometres of the World Solar Challenge were nerve-racking for the Nuon Solar Team. More clouds, a flat tyre or a red light and the race would be over for the team. But at 3.00 am Dutch time, Nuna8 was first across the finish line in Adelaide. A big celebration erupted.
"It was really very exciting," says Bianca Koppen, member of the Nuon Solar Team.
"The difference between us and number two was only three minutes and the weather was not good this last day. We could barely charge the battery. We have worked for over a year on our Nuna8. And then you only want to win. It feels so good that it worked out well."
The biennial race started on Sunday, 18 October, in Darwin and ended 22 October in Adelaide. Nearly 50 teams from universities and schools around the world took part. The World Solar Challenge is aimed at promoting research on solar-powered cars.