On 18th October 2017, the city of Toledo, Spain hosted the Final of the 4th International Optifuel Challenge where 29 drivers from 29 countries (from over 2,500 original entrants) faced off in an eco-driving competition organised by Renault Trucks. Eventually Plamen Ivanov, a Bulgarian driver emerged as the winner, with Romanian, Adrian Ţintea second and Jochen Becker from Luxembourg taking third place.

The competition itself was split into two parts with all the finalists answering a series of theoretical questions that evaluated their eco-driving knowledge, which represented 10% of the final score. Then all the competitors took to the wheel of a Renault Trucks Range T480 Optifuel truck for an open-road driving test lasting around 40 minutes.

In addition to the title and a €6,000 (£5,550) voucher for the shop of his choice, Plamen – a driver and manager of the Bulgarian company Sunny Co. – wins a Renault Trucks Range T480 Optifuel truck to expand his 23-vehicle fleet, which is exclusively made up of Renault Trucks vehicles.

He declared. “I’m so thrilled to have won a Renault Trucks Range T because I think that Renault make the best trucks. I’ve been a loyal customer for years and I was even the first in Bulgaria to buy a Magnum !”

Plamen took the competition so seriously that he practiced every weekend using the Optifuel Infomax to monitor and improve his performance.

As he explained, “I was able to keep my consumption low, whilst maintaining my speed and I only used the brake pedal three times over the entire route !”

After receiving an eco-driving training from Renault Trucks Bulgaria, Plamen Ivanov now trains his company’s drivers.

Adrian Ţintea, a Romanian driver representing the company Ţintar Spedition, came in second place, winning a €2,000 store voucher of his choice and a €5,000 voucher for his company, valid throughout the entire Renault Trucks network.

“The final route was very challenging; hilly with a lot of roundabouts,” says Adrian. “I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t win the truck, since I got to drive a Range T for a month after winning the final in Romania. It’s a great truck that allowed me to save a tank of fuel every 11,000 kilometres.” He promises he’ll win next time !

Taking a creditable third place was Jochen Becker, a driver from the Luxembourg-based company, Tri Kipper. His prize was a €1,000 voucher of his choice and – thanks to his performance – his company also won a Renault Trucks voucher worth €2,500.

Jochen Becker admits that he didn’t practice a lot outside of his daily driving hours: “The hilly route was very similar to the Luxembourg roads I drive every day.”

His boss, Gunter Wilke, said he was very proud of his driver. He also expressed his appreciation for the Renault Trucks brand, emphasising the excellent value for money of the vehicles, their reliability, and the relationship of trust he has built with his dealership.

The UK was represented by Steve Rountree of MTS Logistics, who excelled in the theoretical tests, but narrowly failed to make the ‘Top Ten’.

A special ‘fun’ prize was also awarded the Tunisian team for their good humour and enthusiasm throughout the competition.