Day 1 - Nuna in the lead

October 20, 2003

On Sunday at 8 a.m. local time, driver Mark Olsthoorn started in Darwin with Nuna II in 10th start position amongst 28 other cars. Shortly after 11 a.m. he managed to take the lead from the American MIT team. From that moment on Nuna II stayed in pole-position on the Stuart Highway, heading for Adelaide.

At the end of the race day at 5 p.m. Nuna II had travelled at total distance of 775 kilometres - 50 kilometres more than two years ago when the Dutch team won the first race day and went on to win overall.

The lead

At 11.35 a.m. Nuna II arrived first at the checkpoint in Katherine, located 320 km from Darwin. The Dutch were followed after two minutes by the MIT-team and then by the Australian Aurora team 8 minutes later. The Aurora team had started from pole-position, but had to give up the lead after a flat tire. In the 310 km after the first check point driver Sten Swanenberg increased his lead. At the second checkpoint Swanenberg said about his ride: "Nuna II drives perfectly and at a speed of 120 km/h it starts to run really well."

The Aurora team had just arrived at the second checkpoint as Martijn Hinderdeal took his place in the Nuna cockpit and left for the final stage of the day. The sun had been shining nearly all day, only becoming very cloudy in the last stage of the day. By the end of the first day the Dutch team had a half hour lead on the Aurora and MIT teams.

Monday morning 20 October at 8 a.m. local time (00.30 CEST) the team will continue from the location where they finished Sunday. Every day the teams have to stop by 5 p.m. local time and make camp at the location where they finished.


The Nuon Solar Team is a group of students from the TU (Technical University) Delft and the Erasmus University Rotterdam. This team built the Nuna II - a car that drives on solar energy - in Delft. Nuna II is the successor of solar car Nuna that won the World Solar Challenge 2001. This 3010 km long race is considered the world championship for solar cars. Nuna II makes use of the newest space technology in a sustainable way and takes into account the changing weather conditions through an ingenious software program developed in cooperation with ESA. This year the race started on 19 October. The Nuon Solar Team is made possible by sponsors: Nuon (main sponsor), ESA and the TU Delft.

European Space Agency

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