Gabriel Warde was overjoyed as he received the cup – and perhaps more importantly – the golden key to a brand new Scania R-series as winner of the 2012 winner of the Young European Truck Driver Competition. “Now, I can feel the pressure releasing but it’s good to be on this side of the finishing line.”
He says he will take a few days off before returning to work as an employed driver in Galway, Ireland. “I’ve been training in bits and pieces on and off, but it’s really been an advantage to have competed earlier. You know what to expect.”
Having worked as a driver for 10 years, he says he prefers driving Scania and most certainly prefers driving his very own Scania truck. His wife Laura as well as his four children Cian, Sheena, Ethan and Darren all joined him on the trip to Södertälje and cheered him on through the many competition events. 7-year old Ethan said at an early stage that his dad was the world’s best driver and, as it turned out, he was correct – at least as Europe’s best.
Nerve-racking qualification round
During the road to the final, Gabriel Warde faced a close tie against Austria’s David Duskanich but was announced as winner considering his better score during the qualification round. “At that point, it was nerve-racking and touch and go,” said Laura Warde. “But ultimately he was the best driver of the day.”
Fans were equally nervous, including his country host, Mark Dodd. “We’ve been coming here from Ireland to compete since 2003 and now we’re finally victorious. “But I’ve been extremely nervous, it the maternity ward all over again.” His sister in law, Elaine McMhan, stated that, although she found the whole competition an ordeal, this did not fortunately apply to Gabriel: “He’s been so cool throughout the competition, absolutely brilliant.”