From flames to road trains

Tuesday 18 October, 2011
1pm Darwin Time – unofficial positions

First bushfires and now two massive road trains some eight metres wide are making their way north along the Stuart Highway. Drivers and their support crews are finding life on the road of the Veolia World Solar Challenge is far from the everyday and crossing Australia is far from ordinary.

Taking it all in their stride so far are unofficial leaders, Team Tokai who arrived at Alice Springs Control stop at 12.45pm Darwin time today after leaving Wauchope this morning at 8am. Staying hot on their heels are Nuon from the Netherlands who checked in at Alice Springs at 1.09 and just seven minutes later were followed by the team from Michigan Uni. This group have opened up a lead of approximately 200 kilometres on fourth placed Aurora from Australia which is leading another closely knit cluster of teams including Ashiya from Japan, Twente from the Netherlands, Uni NSW, Umicore from Belgium and Istanbul University.

This gap could narrow if the lead cars are forced to pull over to wait for the road trains which left Glendambo this morning under police escort. They are predicted to reach Alice Springs late in the day. Solar cars approaching the road trains will need to follow instructions from Police Authorities.

Australia’s other team from TAFE SA are further back in the field, approaching Tenant Creek, approximately 600 kilometres behind the leader. Apollo VI from Taiwan who struck difficulty some 683 kilometres south of Darwin yesterday when they struck a cattle grid and sustained suspension damage are back in the hunt and left Tennant Creek at 1.47pm. The Indian team, Solaris, who encountered start-line difficulties and struggled on Darwin’s infamous Hayes Creek hill, are now at Tennant Creek.

To follow Scott’s journey as he accompanies the Tokai University solar car team visit:





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