Who is this happy-chappy and why is he brandishing an Irish flag? Well Biglorryblog can tell you that Gabriel Warde from Ireland has won the exciting final of Scania Young European Truck Driver 2012 (YETD) competition held in Södertälje, Sweden, on Saturday afternoon, which attracted close to 10,000 spectators. Warde, who participated in the YETD final for the second time, beat 23 other talented young professional drivers from countries throughout Europe. And well done to him says BLB. “I really felt the pressure releasing after the competition but it is really good to be on this side of the finishing line,” Gabriel tells me, while Erik Ljungberg, senior vice president and head of Scania corporate relations adds: “It has been fantastic to see how concentrated and focused the drivers have been during the competition—there is only one who can call himself the best young truck driver in Europe but I think all 24 can call themselves winners.”
Gabriel was in seventh place in the competition after the qualification rounds. Runner up in the final was Dmitrey Semenov from Russia and on third place was Stephen Lacombe from France. The first prize in the competition is a brand new truck from Scania R-series, worth 100,000 euros. A total of more than 17,000 young truck drivers under age 35 from 24 European countries competed in Scania Young European Truck Driver. The final took place over a two-day period and included such tests as defensive and fuel-economy driving, cargo securing, check before driving, rescue and fire and safe manoeuvring. The contestants in the final had to prove that they had the skill and attitude of responsible heavy truck drivers as they completed a programme consisting of complex manoeuvring and obstacle tests. Scania Young European Truck Driver is a major part of a global initiative for responsible, safe driving that Scania started in 2003. By highlighting the role of the driver, Scania also wants to attract more young people into the driving profession. “The driver is absolutely the most important factor in heavy vehicle transport,” continnues Erik Ljungberg. “Vehicles and infrastructure are obviously of major significance, but fuel-efficient and safe driving is primarily a matter of human behaviour. Through YETD, Scania wants to help raise the status of professional drivers and emphasise their great importance to the profitability of transport companies and to road safety, as well as to the reduced environmental impact. We want to help attract more young, capable drivers into the transport business.”
Scania’s Young European Truck Driver competition has the endorsement of the European Commission and the International Road Transport Union. Its sponsors are Michelin and Volkswagen. Scania is also running similar competitions in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The 2012 competitions attracted a record number of some 70,000 contestants worldwide. The complete list of results, as well as photos and scores from the final, are available on www.scania.com/yetd. Later this weekend video photo for TV (B-roll) will also be available on the website. And BLB’s minder Rikki Chequer will also doubtless be posting up a few shots from the event as he’s on his way back from there now!