Team Tokai from Japan set the pace in ‘Tokai Challenger’ with an early lead in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge reaching the first control stop of Katherine in just under four hours. They overtook 2015 champions Nuon Solar Team on the Hayes Creek hill before reeling in Punch Powertrain from Belgium sending an early warning they want the title back.
But they didn’t have it all their own way. At the end of Day 1 Nuon’s ‘Nuna 9’ was in the lead and camped eight kilometres north of Dunmarra and 625 kilometres south of Darwin followed by Tokai and Western Sydney University in Unlimited 2.0. At 5pm, still in the Daly Waters Control Stop were Twente Solar Team (Netherlands), Michigan (USA), Punch Powertrain and Kogakuin University (Japan) in ‘Wing’.
There was early disappointment for the Adelaide University Solar Racing Team who were forced to withdraw in their Challenger, Lumen II.
A number of Cruisers are now camped north of Daly Waters including Eindhoven from the Netherlands, HS Bochum from Germany, IVE from Hong Kong, Apollo VIII from Taiwan and Australia’s Clenergy Team Arrow who unlike the Challengers, are not judged on speed, but criteria including energy management and passengers carried.