The world's first international hydrogen-powered motorsport race was held in Rotterdam this weekend.

Dubbed the Formula Zero championship, the contest pitted teams from five countries against each other in a zero-emissions go-kart race.

Each team's entry was powered by a commercial fuel cell that produces electricity from hydrogen.

A Dutch team won the endurance event, while a Spanish team clinched the award for fastest lap.

Peak power

Founded by Dutch motorsport enthusiasts Godert van Hardenbroek and Eelco Rietveld, Formula Zero is already recognised by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, the world's motorsport governing body.

The championship consisted of several events, with teams from the UK, US, the Netherlands, Spain, and Belgium competing for the top honour: zeroth place.

The events included a sprint race, won by a Spanish team called EuplatecH2 with a lap time of 36 seconds. In the endurance event, the Greenchoice Forze team from Delft University took the zeroth place on the podium.

That puts the Delft team on top in the standings. In third place was Imperial College London's team Imperial Racing Green, who proved to have the most reliable entry if not eventually the fastest.

"In 10 years if the motorsport industry as a whole hasn't engaged in zero or low emission principles, it probably won't be around," said Greg Offer, who headed up the Imperial team. "Teams that embrace this new technology early on will succeed, and those that don't will fall by the wayside."

Racing excitement won't suffer, though; Dr. Offer says that fuel-cell powered vehicles don't represent a compromise in performance over traditional petrol-fuelled engines.

"With a combustion engine, you have to reach three or four thousand revolutions per minute to get your peak power," he says. "With an electric vehicle, it's all there from standing, and they're more efficient."

It is expected that the class will grow to Formula Three standard and then full-size racing class as interest in green motoring escalates. The next event will be held in the US in March. In 2009 the Formula Zero championship will comprise four races.

Formula Zero 零方程式

Hydrogen-powered 氫動力裝置的

Rotterdam (荷蘭)鹿特丹港市

Dub 授予...稱號;...叫做;...取綽號

Pit (賽車中途的)加油站,修理站

zero-emission 零排放物

go-kart競賽用的微型單座汽車

clinch ...中得勝;最終贏得

lap 跑完...的一圈;...領先一圈

sprint全速疾跑;短距離賽跑

podium建築物的墩座

standing 固定的,不能移動的,名次表

engaged 從事...;忙於...

Head up 領導,帶頭

Embrace 抓住(機會等);欣然接受(提議等)

Wayside 路邊的

Suffer though 挨過

Combustion 燃燒,氧化, 極度的激動;騷動;混亂

Escalate逐步上升(增強或擴大);(戰爭)逐步升級

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