On 7, 8 and, 9 April 2015, the French finals of the Optifuel Challenge, a competition devoted to economic driving and fuel saving created and organised by Renault Trucks, took place at the Charade Track (Puy-de-Dôme). After the regional selections, there were only 15 competing to win the two places for the international finals to be held this autumn. Those going forward to represent France are Julien Dodré (Norbert Dentressangle) and Viriato Alvès (Transports S.M). These finalists competed on board the Renault Trucks T, voted International Truck of the Year 2015.
For the fourth year in a row, Renault Trucks has organised the French finals of the Optifuel Challenge, a competition devoted to economic driving. The regional selections, organised by Renault Trucks France, took place over the last few months at tracks all over the country. The 15 best French eco-drivers finally came together to compete against each other on the 7, 8 and 9 April on the Charade Track (Puy-de-Dôme) at the wheel of the Renault Trucks T, voted International Truck of Year 2015.
Julien Dodré, Norbert Dentressangle and Viriato Alvès, Transports S.M. won the French final.
The two drivers who have won the right to compete in the international finals, planned for the autumn, are Julien Dodré, a driver with Norbert Dentressangle and Viriato Alvès, who drives for Transports S.M.
Julien Dodré, aged 34, who also qualified for the international Optifuel Challenge in Nice in 2014, talked about his latest victory: “This time, the route was highly technical, with uphill and downhill sections and many “false” level stretches. It called for some very precise driving.” When we asked him what had once again made a difference this year, he replied: “I am very much aware of economic driving, and always try to set an example in my company... Plus the fact that I’ve been fortunate enough to drive a Renault Trucks T every day for the past year!”
Julien Dodré has been an HGV driver with Norbert Dentressangle for the last 10 years.
Viriato Alvès, aged 35, will also be representing his company, Transports S.M. in the Optifuel Challenge International final. “I am familiar with and appreciate the Renault Trucks T, which I find easy to drive. I apply the precepts of rational driving on a day-to-day basis: I am well aware that fuel represents a significant cost for my employer and that our efforts in this field should be constant.” He continues: “How am I going to approach the finals this autumn? Just carry on as I have begun with Transports S.M., continuing to do everything possible to reduce my fuel consumption.”
Alexandre Sousa, fleet manager, also attended the event with Viriato Alvès. He gives us his point of view: “Since this is the first time we’ve taken part in an Optifuel Challenge and have only just introduced a rationalised fuel consumption initiative in our company, we are very pleased with Viriato’s performance. It’s a fine reward. We aim to continue as we have begun, by using Optifleet, the Renault Trucks fleet management software and continuing to apply best practices in-house thanks to our eco-driving instructor.”
Viriato Alvès is the night operations manager at Transports S.M. An HGV driver since the beginning of his career, he joined the company three years ago, first as a driver before taking on his new responsibilities one year ago.
French finals in two stages
The competition took place in two stages. In the first part, the drivers had to answer a questionnaire designed to test their knowledge of rational driving. Then came the driving stage on the open road with departure and arrival at the Charade track. On board the Renault Trucks T 460 Optifuel with a DTI 11 engine, the finalists drove over the same 15.6 km route twice. Members of the jury, predominantly consisting of experts in reducing fuel consumption, then chose the winners based on the following criteria: the most economic driving (i.e. the capacity to optimise journey speeds while at the same time thinking ahead, respecting the Highway code and intelligently using the vehicle’s technologies) as well as the results of the written test. Much of the data examined was provided by the Renault Trucks fuel consumption analysis and measuring software Optifuel Infomax.
During this French final, the Renault Trucks experts in fuel consumption savings and economic driving also had an opportunity to talk to hauliers and advise them. For Renault Trucks offers a global approach to reducing fuel consumption and contributes to helping its customers diminish their operating costs.
Julien Dodré and Viriato Alvès, the two French finalists, will come up against the best eco-drivers from over 20 different countries this autumn during the international finals of the Optifuel Challenge 2015.