Information on this blog is raw and sometimes unverified reporting straight from the road by teams. The event will issue a media release for any events requiring an official notification.

Note that links in blog entries are not maintained, so while a link may be verified to work on the day of publishing, this is not guaranteed beyond that day.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Nuon: Incredible highs and lows marked the first race day

Woken up at 4 a.m. this morning, the team knew that it was time for weeks of electrical gremlins to either show themselves again, or to have finally sorted out the complete electrical system. Some team members, having worked through the night, looked fitter than others, but morale was very high. After what this team has been through, truly no problem cannot be solved.

Eerste dag voor Nuna4 in de World Solar Challenge 2007 - Start Oliver

Arriving at the Northern Territory Parliament building, we first hit solar traffic at 5.30 a.m., it was a sign of things to come. Race fever instantly hit our vanes, and it simply couldn’t be stopped. Our official race start was planned at 8:04 and lined up in the second row in front of a crowd that encompassed the whole square, we started up the car at 7:45 with no problems. Shortly before we were to leave, we noticed that a familiar electrical problem emerged from our motor controller, having always presented itself at high temperatures in excess of 70 degrees the team thought falsely that this was an overheating issue. The first cars had already left the grid and the team was left with a Nuna that simply wouldn’t move. After informing the race organization that we were having technical difficulties and would not meet our departure slot, in accordance with the race regulations, we luckily were afforded a time credit equal to the amount of our lost start time since we notified the organization such an early state. Both Paul, Vincent, and Gert hastily set to work replacing the motor controller. Twenty-Seven solar cars left ahead of the Nuna, in a late, embarrassing, and troubled start.

Our start however, was not a sign of the things to come. Nuna performed flawlessly, overtaking two-third of the other solar cars before the first media stop in Katherine, a 320km leg. Overtaking maneuvers sometimes proved more harrowing than others, but Nuna made truly impressive time. Some contestants proved luckier than others, having received reports of accidents amongst other teams, we hope that everyone is alright and safe tonight.

From our current position, we can be nothing but happy with our achievements today. Having caught up with the leading Belgian Umicore team and narrowly passing Aurora before having been required to stop for the day. Nuon Solar Team “holiday village” has been set up, with the semi-truck’s container serving as “nerve central” with all the Christmas lights, and lawn chairs you could expect from a truly happy camp in the middle of the outback. The film crew is working hard with their satellite link out to bring today’s excitement to Dutch television screens tonight at 23:15 on RTL4.

We can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds in store!