Two drivers from Iceland and Sainsbury’s have been crowned joint winners of the Renault Trucks’ Optifuel Challenge in a competition to discover the most fuel efficient driver.
The winners, Simon Ellis from Sainsbury’s and Iceland’s Les Burkey, will go on to represent the UK at the Optifuel Challenge International Final to be held in Lisbon, Portugal.
The UK final, a two-day event at the Millbrook Proving Ground, Bedfordshire, saw the best drivers from some of the country’s most prestigious fleets put through their paces behind the wheel of a 32-tonne Renault Range T460 tractor unit. Adhering to the Highway Code at all times, competitors undertook a series of challenges around the Millbrook Bowl, One Mile Straight and Hill Loops 1 & 2, a course designed to replicate mixed terrain and road types.
The judges assessed key dynamic driving behaviours that affect fuel economy, including time in the green economy zone, idling time, rolling speed, coasting time and use of the brakes, all measured against the clock – and fuel consumption. Drivers also completed a short questionnaire to test their knowledge of optimised driving.
Simon Ellis and Les Burkey were declared joint first for driving efficiency and each received £2,000 to spend in the Renault Trucks’ Reward Store, as well as a free 2-month rental of the Range T for their companies. They will now take on winners from 20 countries at the all-expenses-paid Optifuel Challenge International Final, where the overall champion will be awarded £6,000 and their company will have the use of a Range T for a year.
Nigel Butler, Renault Trucks’ UK commercial director said: “When the Renault Range T was crowned 2015 International Truck of the Year, fuel economy was identified as one of its major strengths. The Optifuel Challenge showcases the Range T’s exceptional efficiency as well as the skills of the best professional drivers on our roads.”
He continued: “Every fleet operator knows that with such a high proportion of operating costs coming from fuel it is critical that a vehicle is correctly specified and driven in a way which delivers the maximum benefits from the technology within the truck. The Optifuel Challenge is a great way of reinforcing that message while giving the drivers a chance to win some valuable prizes. We wish both Simon and Les the very best of luck as they compete for the Optifuel Challenge International title.”