Europe’s 26 best young truck drivers are in town to decide who will be the King of the road. Some of them nervous newcomers to Scania’s Young European Truck Driver final, others experienced competitors brimming with confidence.
At the competition hotel in central Södertälje the 26 finalists met for the first time and got a short introduction by the Competition management, surrounded by a noisy and colourful crowd of supporters.
The most experienced of all finalist drivers is Saša Hlišć from Croatia. He might be the first Croatian driver ever in a YETD-final, but he’s been driving for 16 years and is a master of defensive driving and cargo securing.
“I’m the third generation of drivers in my family, right now I’m working together with my father, driving all over Europe,” he says.
A freshman is Ionut Tolescu from Romania, participating in YETD for the very first time. His strongest discipline is manoeuvring in narrow spaces, something he learned while driving frigo transports in central Milan some years ago.
“Of course I want to win the European final. But first of all I’m here to prove the true value of a good driver,” he says.
Most experienced as an YETD-competitor is Stephan Lacombe from France. He qualified for the national French final in 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2014, won the French final and qualified for the European final 2012 and 2014, and finished as number three in the last European final.
”My results have been improving for every competition. My strongest disciplines are manoeuvring and economic driving. The economic driving is extremely important for the transport company I work for, so it’s only natural I’m good at this.”
Erling Rolstad from Norway is the heavy weight champion of the YETD-final. He might not be the biggest truck driver in Europe, but his everyday task is to drive heavy machines, often 100 tonnes, in hilly and demanding Norwegian roads.
“I’m very anxious to compete. I will do my best to give my competitors fierce competition,” says the extremely cool and relaxed self-employed 26 year old Norwegian.
Russian driver is the long distance champion of the finals. In his everyday work he transports equipment for ventilation, often 4000 kilometres one way! Based in the European part of Russia his destinations are spelled Novosibirsk, Omsk and Tomsk in Asia.
“I’m very happy to be in this European final. But to me Europe is small, compared to Russia,” he says with a smile.