The Nuna experienced its most exicitng day in true solar car racing fashion yesterday. After having cruised solidly for over 2 hours to the Tennant Creek control stop, it appeared that the Umicar Infinity experienced significant mechanical problems with their steering system, having apparently worn their rack and pinion and making the car nearly impossible to steer. Nuna arrived at the control stop shortly after the Belgians, and left it earlier as the Umicar underwent repairs directly after the mandatory control stop.
The Nuna gained a firm foothold on the lead in the following hours. Having made emergency stops to replace our carbon shock absorbers on the rough roads, the Nuna was also not entirely spared of problems. The lead appeared to narrow significantly after Devil’s Marbles, narrowing to 4 minutes, in an incredible attempt to get past Nuna by the Belgian team.
In true solar racing form, the only variable to exacerbate the situation was a storm system with complete and dark cloud coverage, gail winds reaching 80 km/h, and the threat of heavy rain. At around 4 p.m., Nuna entered just that, and in a true feat of our excellent strategy team, Nuna took a significant lead. The gails took their toll however, making the car yaw so much that our left tire burst, having worn through even its canvas. Nuna didn’t meet its goal of reaching Alice Springs by 5 p.m., but did increase the lead to over 60 km just that night. It appears that this lead only increased, as we rolled into Alice this morning within 17 minutes. The Belgians arrived 82 minutes after us. As a testament to true solar car racing form, it is an example of the numerous factors that are involved that make a team sucessful.