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Damaged solar car withdraws from race

Swisspirit has not started the World Solar Challenge after being badly damaged while travelling to Australia.

Switzerland's entry in the 3,000km race, the world's toughest test for solar cars, incurred serious damage to the front wheel, engine and steering system. The team had been working to fix the problems.

The week-long World Solar Challenge started on Sunday. After discovering the damage, the Swisspirit team was on Friday given another 24 hours until the technical check.

A spokeswoman for the team told the Swiss news agency on Sunday that the repairs had not stood up to the tests. The car has been marked as withdrawn on the Solar Challenge website.

Swisspirit driver Simon Röösli had been waiting since 2006 to climb aboard the new solar car and speed from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south.

The race, which takes place every two years and first began in 1987, is a tradition for the Swiss. The solar cars - designed by the Bern University of Applied Sciences in Biel - have regularly finished among the leaders and even won with Spirit of Biel II in 1990.

The latest Swisspirit is the brainchild of WSCO7, a non-profit organisation based in La Neuveville on Lake Biel. Its aim is to foster research, development and the spread of new technologies for people and their environment. and agencies


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