Japan's Tokai Challenger solar vehicle has taken victory against a strong international field in the 2009 Global Green Challenge. After covering almost 1860 miles (3000km) in four days across Australia's baking red center, the entry from Japan's Tokai University crossed the finish line at 3.39pm local time. The team's run was nearly flawless, reporting only a single flat tire with just over 100 miles of the course to race and the win breaks a string of four consecutive victories by the Dutch Nuon team, which is currently battling it out for second place against University of Michigan Solar Car Team.
A total of 32 solar vehicles from 16 countries made the start of the 2009 Global Green Challenge last Sunday. Tokai Challenger, which is covered by 6m2 of solar panels, placed fourth in qualifying with an average speed of 50.87mph (81.86kph) but took the lead on day one and extended its advantage all the way to the finish line.
The victory is the first by a Japanese team since 1993 when the event was won by Honda Dream II. Honda also won the previous event in 1990.
It is expected that the second and third running cars will cross the official finish line at around 10.am on Thursday local time.
The Global Green Challenge (formerly known as the World Solar Challenge) has been held every two years since 1987. This year a separate category for hybrid, electric, and other types of alternative energy vehicles. Because of the different categories, defining a "leader" is a little more difficult for this section of the race, but a summary of the results, which include CO2 emissions and CO2 emission.