SYDNEY (Reuters) – The Netherlands claimed a seventh World Solar Challenge title on Thursday after its solar-powered car drove the length of Australia in a little over 37 hours.
The challenge began on Oct. 8 with 42 cars powered only by the sun racing from Australia’s tropical north to its southern shores, a grueling 3,000 km (1,864 mile) endurance test through the outback.
The Nuon Solar Team from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, entering the lightest car in the field, reached the finish line in 37 hours, 10 minutes and 41 seconds, according to race organizers.
The United States came in second, organizers said.
The fastest time of 29 hours and 49 minutes was achieved by Japan’s Tokai University in 2009.
Nuon team manager Sander Koot said drivers were forced to adjust their strategy after encountering wind gusts of up to 60 km per hour (37 miles per hour) to profit from the winds as if a sailing ship.
The race starts in the northern city of Darwin and ends in the southern city of Adelaide, with cars typically reaching speeds of 90 kph to 100 kph (55 mph to 62 mph).
Organizers said the biennial event had attracted one of the widest fields ever, with teams from more than 40 countries.
Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Christian Schmollinger