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Tuesday, 20 November, 2001, 15:47 GMT
Mad Dog back on the road
Back on the road, South Bank
The team worked through the night to repair the car
Martine Follain, who is with Britain's Mad Dog team competing in the 2001 World Solar Challenge in Australia, reports on the third day of the famous trans-Australian race.

Mad Dog supporters will be relieved to know that the car has been restored to its former glory, thanks to an incredible team effort, and reached Alice Springs at 4.30pm after 530 kilometres (330 miles) on the road.

With the delay caused by the accident, this puts us in 21st position.

After yesterday's crash, the whole team worked in shifts throughout the night. Nigel Burgess repaired the array frame and a spare panel of solar cells was inserted into the hole in the side of the vehicle. The mechanics team replaced the suspension system, changed the tyres, which had all blown, checked every steering joint and replaced all the damaged components.

The mechanics team finished at 3am, then woke up the electrics team to wire up the electrical system, half of which had been destroyed in the accident.

Mad Dog was ready to go on the dot of 8am and Mike Duke was the first driver to take the car back on the road. His assessment was very positive, except for the steering which wasn't as responsive as usual - something which will be looked at tonight.

The rest of the day went incredibly smoothly, with Mad Dog gliding at an average speed of 65-70 km/hr (40-43 mph) - "a miracle considering what it had gone through," commented Mike.

Many team members slept through the day, catching up on what they had missed. Those who were awake saw a roadhouse claiming to be the UFO capital of Australia with signs warning of an extra-terrestrial landing site.

There were many advertising signs around, presumably from forward-thinking companies wanting to be the first to reach a potential new target market.

Martine Follain is a communications officer with South Bank University's Mad Dog team. BBC News Online will be following the progress of Mad Dog throughout the World Solar Challenge.

Map, BBC

The furious pace of the frontrunners was unrelenting on day three.

Once again, it was the Dutch Nuna car out in front, just ahead of Australia's Aurora.

Things could not be closer. Nuna set up camp for the night south of Coober Pedy, just beyond William Creek. But the Dutch were little more than 5 km (3 miles) ahead of Aurora on the road.

M-Pulse (University of Michigan, US) retained third spot, Solar Miner (University of Missouri-Rolla, US) was fourth, and SoMo (Solar Motions, US) was lying in fifth.

The two leading cars now have approximately 815 km (506 miles) to the finishing line in Adelaide. It is possible they could just cover that distance on the fourth day.

See also:

19 Nov 01 | Sci/Tech
Dog's disastrous day
25 Aug 99 | Sci/Tech
Mad dog heads for the Sun
25 Oct 99 | Sci/Tech
Aussies win solar prize
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