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UAE and Qatar drivers among winners of UD Trucks’ Ultimate Drivers competition

Two drivers from the UAE and Qatar are among the ten winners of UD Trucks’ global 2020 Extra Mile Challenge. The winners of the individual market driving competitions were celebrated in a virtual ceremony to honour and officially crown the Ultimate Drivers.

The UD Extra Mile Challenge started in 2015 and is a global driver competition that simulates a day in a truck driver’s life. The challenge tests pre-inspection and driving techniques such as fuel efficiency, safe driving, and parking skills.

The local markets usually hold the qualification rounds, and the winners travel to take part in the Global Final held at the UD Experience Centre in the headquarters in Japan.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all local market winners were chosen as Ultimate Drivers, a worthy designation considering these drivers kept trucks moving despite the pandemic, continuing to deliver the goods and necessities that we all depend on.

In Abu Dhabi, UD Trucks’ partner Al Masaood took part in the challenge to find the ultimate driver. Around 40 UD Trucks drivers from different industries including construction and waste management were invited to participate in the market’s final.

The winner was Khalid Aboud from Western Bainoona Group, a construction and transportation company in the UAE.

In the Qatari Market, Jaidah Heavy Equipment, hosted their Extra Mile Challenge, with 35 drivers from various sectors taking part. The winner was Sameer Shah from waste management and environmental services company, Power Waste Management.

The challenge consisted of a serious of tests, with the first being a pre-inspection exam, followed by a series of parking tests including diminishing line, Forward side move, and the Reverse side move tests manoeuvrability skills and emphasise the importance of pre-inspection to avoid downtime. Lastly, a theory test was conducted to examine the drivers’ safety, fuel efficiency and technical knowledge.

While the pandemic has also fueled the growth of eCommerce, the logistics industry remains highly competitive, making efficient drivers an essential asset for trucking companies.

The ability of the driver to maximise fuel efficiency not only contributes to the bottom line but helps reduce emissions and environmental impacts. The Extra Mile Challenge is a way to promote and recognise the safest and most fuel-efficient drivers on our roads today.

The winners were selected among 500 drivers, who competed in qualifying rounds held across nine countries – Australia, Singapore, South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Qatar, UAE, and the Philippines.

Each winner was awarded an Ultimate Driver prize box and two virtual airline tickets to Japan, which will be converted to actual tickets once the pandemic subsides and standard international travel resumes.

Mourad Hedna, President of UD Trucks Middle East, East and North Africa said: “I send my congratulations to both of the winners from Qatar and Abu Dhabi. We look forward to welcoming them to our headquarters in Japan once the travel situation has improved. Every year we see a rise in the number of participants.

“In this latest edition we had a combined total of over 50 drivers taking part in the events in Qatar and Abu Dhabi and we look forward to welcoming many more in the future. Finally, we would like to congratulate and thank all the participants for staying on the roads during the pandemic and ensuring they have kept going the extra mile.”