(AFP) – Oct 2, 2011
CALAMA, Chile — Latin America's first big solar car competition has a winner: a Chilean entry named Intikalpa sped to success in the Atacama Solar Challenge.
Intikalpa -- which means solar energy in the indigenous Quechua language of the Andes -- beat out 30 entries from seven countries across the Americas on a 1,060 kilometer (660 miles) course.
Racers hit the road with clean green vehicles in the Friday through Sunday competition which saw vehicles travel through Iquique, Antofagasta and Calama, crossing the Atacama desert, the world's driest.
On the Atacama Solar Challenge track of the competition, for cars only, the Intikalpa had some stiff competition but pulled out ahead.
Built by the Chilean team Antakari, it chalked up an impressive average speed of 75 km/h. The team was made up of engineers from the private Los Pelambres mining company and students at the Universidad de La Serena.
"All the hard work was really worth it. We were the most competitive team in developing the car, and that is where we outdid the competition," Jaime Munoz, the winning team's driver, told AFP.
Another track of the competition was for mixed solar and pedal-powered tricycles.
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