Fuel misers awarded at Volvo challenge

Chris Sanders, winner of the Australian Drivers' Fuel Challenge

Chris Sanders, the owner of Sanders Bulk Transport in South Australia, has been awarded Australia’s most fuel efficient driver at the Volvo Trucks Drivers’ Fuel Challenge national final.

The Drivers’ Fuel Challenge is a global competition arranged by the Swedish truck giant in which professional truck drivers compete to drive in the most fuel efficient manner possible. A suitably fuel conscious driving style results in significant savings for both the environment and the truck operator.

Sanders was one of eight finalists to participate in the national final held at the Australian Automotive Research Centre near Anglesea in Victoria. Each finalist had previously triumphed in respective state-based competitions held over the last few months. 

Participants in the national final were:
• Stephen Wilson, Interstate Motor Marketing Services (NSW);
• Craig Fox, Fox’s Transport (Vic);
• Michael Sharp, GJ Transport (Qld);
• Pat Treacy, Nolan’s Interstate Transport (Qld);
• Grant Morice, Fonterra (Tas);
• Michael Harders, Allwest Transport Services & FMC West (WA);
• Chris Sanders, Sanders Bulk Transport (SA);
• Bob Middleton, Whiteline Transport (SA).

“Each of the eight competitors has proven to be in the top league of professional drivers in this country,” remarked Gary Bone, vice president of Volvo Trucks Australia, during the awards presentation dinner held in Torquay on July 19.

In the regional events conducted throughout the country in the past few months, the average variation between the 24 participants at each state based event was 36 percent. At the final though, the variation between the top eight drivers was just 8.7 percent.

“This result quantifies what fleet owners can achieve with driver education and training and a positive culture that encourages, and even rewards, fuel efficient driving in the organisation,” Gary added.

Chris Sanders will now represent Australia in the Asia Pacific final of the Drivers’ Fuel Challenge in November, for a chance to win a once in a lifetime experience, a trip to the home of Volvo in Sweden.

Second place in the national final was awarded to Michael Sharp from GJ Transport in Queensland and third place went to Bob Middleton, from Whiteline Transport in South Australia.

In addition to the main event, Volvo Trucks also offered members of the media the chance to compete against each other to see who could score the best fuel economy under the same conditions as the Fuel Challenge finalists. Of the five journalists, Paul Matthei, editor of DIESEL magazine and DieselNews emerged as the winner.

DIESEL editor Paul Matthei (left) and Volvo Trucks Australia vice president, Gary Bone

“Being a bit of a motor nut I always enjoy getting the best out of every vehicle I drive,” Matthei said. “It’s been a real privilege to take part in this event and I’m chuffed to have come away with this award.”

The inaugural Drivers’ Fuel Challenge programme was proudly sponsored by Caltex Australia and Michelin Australia.

 

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