Top car crashes in World Solar Challenge

Leading car RED E from Solar Team Twente has crashed out of the World Solar Challenge.
Leading car RED E from Solar Team Twente has crashed out of the World Solar Challenge.

The leading car in the World Solar Challenge has crashed in South Australia's north as strong winds also took out another top contender and prompted organisers to impose a speed limit on teams.

Organisers said "unprecedented" wind gusts on Wednesday flipped Solar Team Twente's RED E car just north of Coober Pedy.

The driver was unhurt but was taken to hospital for observation before being released.

The Dutch team was assessing the extent of damage to the car before determining whether it could resume the 3000-kilometre journey to Adelaide.

The deteriorating weather conditions also claimed the German Sonnenwagen team with their car damaged when it was forced off the road by wind gusts.

Its driver was also unhurt.

Challenge director Chris Selwood said "mother nature can be the most brutal, unpredictable adversary" even for the strongest, best-prepared teams.

'All drivers are well which is our priority," he said.

The incidents left another Dutch team, Vattenfall, in the lead, about 24 minutes ahead of Agoria from Belgium with the Japanese crew from Tokai University in third place through the Coober Pedy checkpoint.

Vattenfall said it was "shaken" by the events on Wednesday.

"We're still racing, but with a very bittersweet feeling," the team tweeted.

"Busy trying to process everything."

The incidents also forced race organisers to impose an 80 km/h speed limit on all cars for a period.

It was later lifted after a revised weather forecast.

The leading cars in the challenge are still expected to reach Adelaide on Thursday after spending the night camped less than 500 kilometres north of the city.

Australian Associated Press