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Wednesday, 21 November, 2001, 11:21 GMT
Mad Dog eats up the road
Mad Dog, South Bank University
At the end of the day, the mechanics get to work
Martine Follain, who is with Britain's Mad Dog team competing in the 2001 World Solar Challenge in Australia, reports on a record-breaking fourth day in the famous trans-Australian race.

After the drama of our accident on Monday, Wednesday thankfully went very well. In fact, Mad Dog surpassed itself and drove over 600 kilometres (370 miles), the furthest it has ever gone in one single day, with an average speed of 73 km/h (45 mph).

Mad Dog also beat its own speed record, reaching a maximum of 100 km/h (62 mph) once it had left Alice Springs.

According to our best pilot, Nigel Burgess, who drove close to five hours today, "the conditions were close to ideal with beautiful sunny weather and what was originally a cross wind changing into a slight tail wind".

Mad Dog, South Bank University
There's not much out here... apart from solar cars
We stopped just north of Coober Pedy, the famous opal mining town of Southern Australia. This is going to be our first real night in the outback, with the flat arid land stretching as far as the eye can see.

It's still very hot at 5pm, when we have to stop the car, but temperatures at night can cool down substantially.

We are currently in 18th position and hoping to gain on the cars ahead tomorrow if we succeed in repeating today's performance. If all goes well, we should reach Adelaide the day after tomorrow.

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 Dutch Nuna car has won the World Solar Challenge in Australia.

The solar-powered vehicle crossed the timed finish line on Highway 1 on the northern outskirts of Adelaide at 17:09 and 20 seconds (local time).

It was comfortably ahead of its closest rival, the Australian entry Aurora, which will not make it to the same point until Thursday morning.

Nuna covered the three-thousand-kilometre distance from Darwin to Adelaide in 32 hours and 39 minutes. This just beat the record for the race set by the Honda Dream car in 1996 at 33 hrs and 32 mins.

Nuna, run by the Alpha Centauri Team, averaged a speed of 91.81 km/h (57.04 mph), compared with Honda's average of 89.76 km/h (55.77 mph).

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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