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Optifuel Challenge France: the 2013 winners

The finals of the Optifuel Challenge France 2013, a competition devoted to economic driving and lower fuel consumption promoted by motorsport driver Emmanuel Collard, took place on 22 April at the Nogaro track in the Gers Département of France. The event was an opportunity to reward the best drivers from all over the country.

In 2012, Renault Trucks had the idea of organising a competition devoted to economic driving and reduced fuel consumption: the Optifuel Challenge. The finals of the 2013 French edition took place on 22 April at Nogaro (Gers), with French motorsport driver Emmanuel Collard promoting the event. His victories on the track include the Daytona 24-hour race, the Monza 2005 1,000 km race and the Le Mans Series Championships in 2005, 2006 and 2011. He also won the Michelin Green X Challenge with the Pescarolo Team team in 2011.

16 drivers, chosen during pre-selection events organised in March and April in four French towns, were all lined up to make their bid for a place on the podium. 

During the finals, they were ranked on the basis of several criteria: theoretical questionnaires organised during the morning and a practical stage on the open road on a predefined route 21.8 km long in the afternoon.  

On the road, fuel consumption, respect for the Highway code and the drivers' journey times were all analysed to see who performed best.  

Two trials for a single Challenge

Two trials took place during the finals. The first one tested eight drivers at the wheel of a new Premium Optifuel. The second pitted six drivers against each other in a pre-owned Euro V 460 hp Optifuel Special Edition. 

At the end of the day, six drivers earned awards. The first three competing in the new Premium Optifuel (NV) and the three best drivers who distinguished themselves at the wheel of the used Optifuel (UV) vehicles.

Throughout the day, the competition finalists, the drivers and the company managers who accompanied them all had an opportunity to go out on the track in racing trucks with the teams who compete in Renault Trucks vehicles: the Aravi, Bouzigue, CCC and Blaise Racing stables.  

Double winner lineup

The winners of the Optifuel Challenge were announced on the closing evening at a ceremony attended by Renault Trucks' partners for this event:  Michelin, Voith and Renault Trucks Oils.

The winners of the competition, Yannick Le Collonnier from the Le Gouessant Coopérative (on the NV) and Franck Modolo from the Vivadour Group (on the UV), won an iPad. The representatives from the company backing them were each presented with a Renault Trucks Oils product kit, two Michelin X-Line tyres and an iPad. All of them were also invited to the Renault Trucks' VIP stand at Le Mans next October. 

In second place, Franck Barbara from Transports Semezies (on the NV) and Jérôme Payen from Transports Saint-Ouen Frères (on the UV), each won a Racing kit (consisting of a steering wheel cover, seat covers and floor carpets), an iPhone and a VIP invitation to the Le Mans 24-hour Truck Racing Grand Prix for the driver and company representative. 

In third place, Sébastien Muller from Rhenus Logistics (on the NV) and Mathieu Peyres from Transports Tragor (on the UV), were also presented with a Racing kit, an iPhone and a VIP invitation to the Le Mans 24-hour Truck Racing Grand Prix for the driver and company representative. 

All finalists, drivers and those accompanying them, were also invited to Lyon in June, to attend the launch of the new Renault Trucks range.  

"This is the first time I've taken part, I never thought I would win!" exclaimed Franck Modolo, driver with the Vivadour Group and competition winner on the UV Optifuel Special Edition vehicle. "But now I know what I can do, I want to take part in other challenges, particularly the Optifuel Challenge Europe which is being held in 2014!" he added.

For the companies taking part in these finals, eco-driving is now one of their core concerns: "Our fleet is exclusively made up of Renault Trucks vehicles. All of them are equipped with Infomax. We also have two in-house instructors," explains Philippe Hurst, one of the instructors with Rhenus Logitics, a haulage company based in Strasbourg. "In our company, taking consumption into account also involves organising our own challenge which enables us to reward the best driver and the one who has improved the most," he adds.

"We make a point of promoting new initiatives involving the drivers in the Group, focused on eco-driving, which symbolises both savings and ecological responsibility. In particular, this involves modernising the fleet, monitoring consumption, training drivers, limiting engine use when at a standstill, and so on," explains Xavier Roux, logistics manager for the cooperative Group le Gouessant, which manufactures and sells feed for reared animals and winner of the Optifuel Challenge France on the NV.

This need to reduce fuel consumption is even to be found also in fields of activity where long-distance transport is more of an exception, as is explained by Laurent Lacroix, logistics manager for the Vivadour Group: "As the cooperative doesn't don't do much long-distance transport, we have only fairly recently become aware of the need for eco-driving. But we have now started a process aiming at this, particularly by introducing Infomax and on-board IT in the trucks."

A pioneer and leader in the field of consumption for several years, Renault Trucks offers a global approach to this concern with its various Optifuel Solutions, which take in everything from vehicle configuration to driver training, fuel consumption monitoring tools and good maintenance throughout a vehicle's entire life-cycle. The Optifuel Challenge is a perfect illustration of what this commitment means on a day-to-day basis in partnership with customers.

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