Close to 1,000 spectators and fans watched on as Joel Valente won a place at the top of the winners’ podium at the Young European Truck Driver final in Portugal. Among the crowd were representatives from a number of transport companies, who took the chance to test drive Scania trucks.
Joel Valente, 28, is passionate about driving and thanks to his family and friends he has been surrounded by trucks his entire life. Now, he has been crowned the best Young European Truck Driver in Portugal.
Valente took the honour on June 21 at the Autódromo do Estoril racetrack near Lisbon.
Manoeuvring on narrow roads
Valente’s experience driving 40-tonne vehicles in Portugal’s Lisbon and Sintra regions, often in cities and on narrow roads, has made him something of an expert in manoeuvring under time pressure. He sometimes needs to visit as many as 15 destinations per day within these urban areas.
“My approach to getting the work done is to keep my calm, to get out of tricky situations, and to deliver on time,” he says.
Room for improvement
Skilled drivers like Valente are real assets. This is something transport managers, like Sérgio Fernandes, manager of the Portuguese transport company Transportes Central Pombalense, fully realise.
Fernandes is himself a skilled driver with 12 years in the profession and understands the pressures and challenges involved in succeeding as a driver.
“We started using Scania Fleet Management and found out that there was room for improvement,” Fernandes says.
In January 2014 the company started training ten of the 300 drivers employed by the company. “We immediately saw improvements, especially in the fuel-consumption,” Fernandes says. “We’re moving fast now to train the remaining drivers in order to reach the full potential.”