Fuel efficient Kiwi takes Volvo Challenge

New Zealander Louise Marriott has made history by winning this year’s Volvo Trucks Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge and in doing so is the first female driver and also the first New Zealander to win the coveted title.

Marriot won the title in testing conditions at Hua Hin in Thailand this week.

Not only becoming the first female driver to win but also the first female to make the podium in the competition’s history.

VT_Fuelwatch_2015_04Alongside Ms. Marriott’s on road win, India’s Ravi Poleboina took out the most fuel-efficient driver in the off-road segment.

Held across two days, the Volvo Trucks Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge saw 17 top drivers from 10 countries in the Asia Pacific region competing against one another in challenges that include fuel-efficient driving, as well as general vehicle handling, safety methods and overall productivity in on-road and off-road segments.

The competition embodies the Volvo’s Fuelwatch mission toward a fuel-efficient industry model. During the event, participants attended a one-day training session on fuel-efficient driving techniques and technical expertise, followed by the Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge grand finals on the second day.

The Fuelwatch Challenge kicked-off with local editions in Asia Pacific countries ( including here in Australia see T&TT issue 104 July August) earlier this year with 17 top drivers qualifying to contest the regional final in Thailand seeking out the most fuel-efficient driver in the on-road and off-road categories. This year’s APAC finals included four women, representing the expanding number of female drivers within the Fuelwatch community and the industry-at-large.

Expressing her elation over the record-setting performance, Ms Marriott said: “I’m absolutely pleased to be this year’s most fuel-efficient driver and to be the first contestant to bring the trophy home to New Zealand. While our industry is often thought of as being male dominated, the Fuelwatch Challenge has been a great platform for us to show that all drivers, regardless of gender, can perform at the highest level while being fuel-efficient. I look forward to sharing the experience at Fuelwatch with my colleagues back home.”VT_Fuelwatch_2015_03

To win the title of the most fuel-efficient driver in the on-road category at this year’s Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge, Ms. Marriott clocked 17.5 per cent less fuel compared with the highest amount of fuel burnt at the event.

Volvo says that within the industry, fuel can account to up to 50 per cent of the operating costs of a typical haulage business. Based on the fuel-efficiency margins recorded in the on-road and off-road finals, this would inarguably translate into significant cost savings potential in a real-world context.

Christophe Martin, president of Volvo Trucks in Asia Oceania said he was delighted and proud to witness history being made at this year’s Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge.

“I am proud to have witnessed the first female driver joining the ranks of past Fuelwatch winners. Louise’s achievements will no doubt encourage aspiring female drivers, which will benefit the industry as a whole,” said Christophe Martin.

“We at Volvo Trucks are firmly committed to the Fuelwatch mission of optimising performance at minimum cost to businesses, society and the environment. Since our inaugural event in 2007, the more than 15,000 participants of the Fuelwatch Challenge have become ambassadors of the Fuelwatch community, sharing the skills and technical knowledge that they have picked up at the vent to catalyse our goal of a fuel-efficient industry. Together with them, we look forward to championing the Fuelwatch mission for the industry and the society”.