Winner of DAF Driver Challenge announced

Belgian driver Peter Jacobs has been named ‘DAF Driver Challenge Champion 2019’, beating off competition from 17 drivers from around Europe in the final, held at Goodyear’s proving ground in Luxembourg, to take the title.

Second and third places went to Nerijus Vitkauskas from Lithuania, and Miroslav Svoboda from the Czech Republic, respectively.

The DAF Driver Challenge competition started with national events in 30 countries last spring with more than 1,000 contestants, leading to this international final, for which only the 18 best truck drivers made the grade. A six-person jury – comprising racing drivers Sabine Schmitz, Ellen Lohr and Michael Bleekemolen; Harry Wolters, president DAF Trucks; Renaud Dehillotte, marketing director DAF Trucks and Matthias Stenau, vice president global accounts DEKRA – monitored the performance of the competitors, backed by a group of auditors from European vehicle inspection organisation Dekra.

Participation in the DAF Driver Challenge was open to all, regardless of the truck brand normally driven. Scott Lewis was the UK’s representative at the final.

 “The competition was so incredibly strong that my win came as a total surprise”, said Jacobs, 32, who drives for Alders Bulk Logistics. “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!”

Wolters added: “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. 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 final.”

Richard Zink, director of marketing and sales and member of the board of management of DAF Trucks said: “It was impressive to see the best drivers demonstrating their exceptional driving skills behind the wheel of our industry-leading vehicles.”

Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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