Final results for the 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge signed by the Chief Timekeeper have been released today.
It seems the publication of the final results have been as complicated as the event itself. As was stated at the awards ceremony, the near perfect weather experienced in the past three or four events lulled many experienced Solar Challengers into a false sense of security. This time there were those who were able to take on a few hours unexpected static charge while waiting for bushfire ravished roads to reopen. Others struggled under the thousands of square kilometres of smoke haze which drifted across the continent, often thick enough to blot out the sun altogether. Further south there was the cloud ? fickle at first but spreading in density to a full 8 Okta with one team reporting less than 100w ^Mtr! Then the rains came. It is important for new readers to note that the event is held in a single stage over many thousands of kilometres thus conditions which affect some may not affect others and the fundamental strategy of managing a very limited amount of stored energy over the whole route became a very interesting exercise.
Teams not able to maintain a reasonable minimum speed are invited to maximise their experience in the event by running their solarcar for a few hours each day before moving their car forward in their truck or on their trailer. The rules surrounding this exercise allow a great deal of flexibility in their application to enable the particular circumstances and the conditions to be taken into consideration.
The finalisation of the results was delayed mostly by the contention of one team who, so desperate to show their sponsors a clean finish, demanded recognition of a place the number of irregularities involved denied them.
A small number of teams questioned the number of solar kilometres attributed to them so the decision was taken to audit all the log books where these are recorded in the team log by the Observer (which the team manager should sign at the end of each day) and transmitted to Mission Control for incorporation into the overall results.
Interesting errors such as trailered Km being substituted for Solar Km, and solar credits being given to Control Points instead of actual distance covered were discovered and the complications of this event outlined earlier led to some interesting arithmetic from some Observers! Some gained from the exercise, others not. The figures have now been checked and cross checked with the result that we are now able to verify the Official Record and present the final results.
Overall a brilliant and exciting event with grateful thanks to all involved.
Chris Selwood, Event Director, Veolia World Solar Challenge
View full results here