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Wednesday, July 27 2005



Mike Krapfl, News Service, (515) 294-4917

Fusion finishes third in its class

AMES, Iowa -- Fusion did Austin to Calgary in 71.5 hours.

That's 2,494.9 miles through sun and clouds, through loose wires and an overly sensitive battery protection system, through city traffic and tiny towns, through boring days in the chase vehicle and chilly nights in a semi trailer.

And all that was good for third place in the stock class of the North American Solar Challenge, the world's longest solar car race.

Iowa State University's student-built solar car finished behind Stanford University and the University of California Berkeley in the race's stock class. Fusion trailed the Stanford car by 3 N) hours.

Fusion finished 11th in the overall standings. It also trailed eight cars in the more powerful open class. The University of Michigan won the overall title, beating the University of Minnesota by 12 minutes.

Just before Team PrISUm left its car for the race's awards ceremony, Tom Noonan said team members were excited about the finish.

"We're happy to get third," said Noonan, a junior from Berthoud, Colo., who's studying computer engineering. "But we would have liked to get first in our class."

A minor problem with a loose wire in the battery pack caused a few problems on the road to the finish line Wednesday, Noonan said. But there was enough sun for Fusion to run on solar power without drawing from its battery reserves.

Twenty university teams started the solar car race on July 17 in Austin, Texas. Only 14 cars drove all the way to Calgary, Alberta, Canada.