Peter Jacobs from Belgium has been crowned ‘DAF Driver Challenge Champion 2019’ this weekend. In a spectacular international final at the Goodyear proving ground in Luxembourg, 18 candidates from across Europe, competed for this coveted title. Second and third places went to Nerijus Vitkauskas from Lithuania, and Miroslav Svoboda from the Czech Republic respectively.
“The competition was so incredibly strong that my win came as a total surprise”, stated Europe’s best truck driver Jacobs (32), who is driver for Alders Bulk Logistics. Clearly emotional: “The national final was tough enough, but we had to really push ourselves here. The trials with the trucks and trailers were extremely challenging and the written tests that we had to take in the field of technology, legislation and regulations were downright tough. Some people state that I have an easy job. But that is far from reality. Therefore I would like to dedicate this award to all my highly professional colleagues who hit the road every day!”
UK representative, Scott Lewis, acquitted himself very well indeed – particularly given the added difficulties in adjusting to left-hand-drive vehicles – finishing the weekend in 12th position.
The best of Europe and beyond
The DAF Driver Challenge competition was started with national events in 30 countries last spring with over 1,000 contestants, leading to the international final last weekend, for which only the 18 best truck drivers made the grade. A six-person jury carefully monitored the performance of the competitors, backed by a group of auditors from the European vehicle inspection organisation Dekra. DAF was looking for the very best driver, so participation in the DAF Driver Challenge was open to all, regardless of the truck brand normally driven.
‘Truck drivers need a great skillset’
Harry Wolters, DAF Trucks’ president and chairman of the jury, noted: “This final has again confirmed that an excellent truck driver needs a great skillset. It requires lots of knowledge, experience and skills to boost the performance of a truck to its maximum. We really feel that truck drivers deserve to be on a podium and to be celebrated for the challenges they face day-in day-out. With the International DAF Driver Challenge, we give them that platform to showcase their skills and knowledge. The jury was impressed by the dedication and cool-thinking candidates who were able to demonstrate their talent, even under the extreme pressure of the finale.”
‘Great drivers that make great trucks’
Richard Zink, Director Marketing and Sales and Member of the Board of Management of DAF Trucks: “For decades, we have built trucks that offer market leading driver comfort and feature a wide range of technologies designed to support drivers every day. However, it’s the driver that unlocks a vehicle’s true potential. It was impressive to see the best drivers demonstrating their exceptional driving skills behind the wheel of our industry-leading vehicles.”
The jury consisted of six members: