Firm handshakes and high fives characterised the camaraderie and competitive spirit among TNT drivers who met head-to-head in early October in the global 4th Annual Drive Me Challenge Final.
Sixteen of the transporters top-ranking pick-up and delivery (PUD) drivers descended on Valkenburg, a former military airfield in the Netherlands once used by the Dutch Royal family.
They came from as far flung as Australia, China, South Africa, USA and the United Arab Emirates in a bid to win the coveted title of this year’s Best TNT Driver. Only one driver took home the top prize, but all of them left the challenge with a spirit of comradeship at the end of a triumphant day.
The challenge started bright and early, as drivers were ushered on a waiting bus and transported to the airfield. Bas Janssen, Operations Director at TNT Express Benelux, kicked off the event with words of encouragement. “There’s no need to be nervous. By being here, you have already proven that you are one of TNT’s top PUD drivers,” he said.
Each participating driver was the winner of pre-round challenge, organised locally or regionally, and was being supported in the global challenge by a management representative from his respective region acting as co-driver.
The sound of the horn at 10:30 am sparked off a frenzied Le Mans start, as participants made a 50-meter sprint to their vans. Each team was required to safely complete 12 laps around the circuit as quickly as possible while consuming as little fuel as possible. Along the way, drivers were evaluated on their customer interactions during five pick-up and delivery stops.
Netherlands-based TNT Post Parcel Services driver Pieter van Gompel and co-driver Albert Rodenboog won first place. What helped them win? “Driving as close to the lines as possible and avoiding the use of my brakes,” said Van Gompel.