LARS SØNDERGÅRD FROM DENMARK
IS EUROPE’S BEST TRUCK DRIVER
Lars Søndergård is the winner of a brand new Scania truck of his choice up to a value of 100,000 euro. More than 23,000 truck drivers from across Europe took part, but only Søndergård excelled in all events throughout the final and was crowned the 2015 Young European Truck Driver Champion. As such, he’s the ideal recruitment for any transport company.
From the final
Reports and stories
Live in 25 april 2015
About the YETD final
Meet the finalists
Stefan Büchele, 21
Büchele has been driving trucks for 3 years, and most of the time that means delivering refuse collectors. It’s the first time he participates in the YETD competition, and because he is often driving on narrow streets, he believes that his strongest challenge is the Turnover. The Z and Combo challenge are, on the other hand, probably the most challenging disciplines for Stefan.
Kris Agten, 31
Agten has competed in YETD five times and has experienced a wide range of transport challenges through his job. He is currently required to regularly drive in big, crowded cities, and so he has honed his manoeuvring skills. Agten considers load securing to be one of his weaker disciplines, as he no longer performs this task as part of his job.
Krasimir Kovachev, 26
Kovachev started driving trucks when he was 19 and considers his strongest competition disciplines to be the Reverse Z and Knock the King. His daily job involves driving in very narrow streets, meaning manoeuvring is one of his competition strengths. His weakest discipline is probably cargo securing. However, Kovachev feels he has all the necessary skills to win the competition.
Saša Hlišć, 34
Hlišć has worked primarily with driving truck and trailer combinations since he was 19. His strongest competition disciplines are defensive driving and cargo securing. He has honed these skills to a high degree in his daily work where he often transports high-value cargo. Hlišć is clearly looking forward to the competition, particularly the opportunity to learn new skills and to meet new people. He believes his weak spot is the fire and rescue challenge.
Michal Kyral, 32
Kyral began driving trucks when he was 21 and he today drives tank trucks containing chemicals. He considers manoeuvring to be his strongest skill, both in the competition and in his everyday job. However, cargo securing is one of his weak spots. He hopes to emerge from the final with the best result ever for someone from the Czech Republic.
Lars Sondergaard, 32
Sondergaard is a skilled driver with 14 years’ experience behind the wheel of trucks, particularly truck and trailer combinations. His strongest skill sets are manoeuvring and cargo securing. As well as winning the most recent Danish national final, Sondergaard placed second in 2012. He believes his weakest discipline is first aid. He is looking forward to the finals and emphasises that he will not be participating as a spectator this time, but as a competitor.
Jukka Haanpää, 31
Haanpää began driving trucks in 2003 and is currently delivering scrap metal. He has participated in the competition several times, and this time he qualified himself for the final. Haanpää believes himself skilled in the maneuvering exercises with a semi-trailer, and in his everyday job, he has a strong focus on customer service. He believes his weak spot are all exercises that involve speed.
Stéphen Lacombe, 33
Lacombe is a veteran YETD participant, having competed in several previous competitions. He has driven trucks since he was 19 and has always worked with truck and trailer combinations. He considers manoeuvring and eco-driving to be his two fortes. Lacombe is always working to improve his skills, especially when it comes to eco-driving. He nominates regulations, traffic laws, and first aid as his weakest disciplines.
Patrik Schildmann, 32
Schildmann has plenty of experience both in driving various types of trucks for 14 years, transporting different cargo and has participated in YETD five times since 2005. He regards the challenges to be equivalent to the tasks he conducts in his daily work, like reversing in narrow streets, efficient and forward-looking driving. Schildmann considers the reverse and maneuvering challenges to belong to his fortes.
Vassilis Tabouratzis, 35
Tabouratzis began driving trucks when he was 19, and works primarily with truck and trailer combinations. He has participated in two national finals in 2012 and 2014, and his strongest competition challenge is the Combo. He considers the cargo securing challenge to be his weakest discipline. Tabouratzis is looking forward to the contest and says he will do his best to claim first place.
Attila Szabó, 27
Szabó has a total of three years’ experience with different types of trucks. He has participated in YETD twice, and as well as winning the last Hungarian national final he was the runner up in 2012. His strongest discipline is check-before-driving. With little experience in handling longer trucks and with cargo securing, these exercises will pose a real challenge to him.
Robert Baker, 32
Baker has driven trucks for 14 years and got his start in the industry through his family’s business. He is the current Irish national champion. Baker displays extreme precision in his manoeuvring, as he practises this discipline regularly in his daily job. However, his weak spot is load securing. Baker’s goals are to win a new truck and enjoy the finals experience.
Edy De Rocco, 35
De Rocco has been driving trucks for 14 years, primarily with truck and trailer combinations, and he has participated in three national finals. His forte is the Reverse Z challenge, something that is also a strength in his working life. His weakest discipline is probably cargo securing. De Rocco wants to improve on his 2012 performance in the final.
Danny Henskens, 29
Henskens grew up around the special transport sector, often joining his truck-driving father on the job. Since becoming a driver himself, he has undertaken a wide range of transport industry roles. He has a strong focus on safety and believes that with the right mind-set he can excel at anything. Henskens’s weak spot is perhaps his lack of competition experience. However, he’s looking forward to the finals and is certain that he will enjoy the ride.
Erling Rolstad, 26
Rolstad began driving trucks when he was 19, working primarily with truck and trailer combinations. This is his first time participating in the European finals, but with his experience in manoeuvring and his skill with driving heavy machines, he is up to the task. Rolstad’s weak spot is fuel-efficient driving, and he is looking very much forward to taking part in the competition.
Bartosz Zapart, 24
Since he began driving trucks at the age of 19, Zapart has experienced a wide range of different transport segments. He believes his strongest disciplines in the competition are cargo securing, first aid, and manoeuvring, with the latter also his forte in his daily work. Zapart’s weak spot is fuel-efficient driving. However, he says he has a lot to look forward to including the fun of competition and competing with the best drivers from Europe.
Joel Valente, 28
Valente usually drives a Scania R 420 truck and trailer combinations and has done so for the last seven years. He previously participated in YETD in 2012. Valente’s strongest discipline is competition is manoeuvring. While working he focuses on caring for the truck, minimising waste, and reducing tyre and fuel consumption. He has a positive attitude and believes that you always can improve and learn new things.
Ionut Tolescu, 31
Tolescu has driven a variety of trucks over the past 12 years. This year is his first participating in YETD and Tolescu’s forte in the competition is the Reverse Z. He honed his manoeuvring skills while working in Milan, where there are numerous narrow streets. His weakest skill is check-before-driving. Tolescu says he will do his very best to win first prize.
Sergey Titkin, 34
Titkin has been driving trucks, primarily within the road-construction industry, since he was 19. However, this is the first time that he has participated in YETD. His daily life sees him covering long distances in Russia, and he believes this has made his strongest skill cargo securing. He says Knock the King is his major weak spot, and he views improving in this area is of benefit to his abilities as a professional driver.
Marián Maliar, 35
Maliar started driving trucks all over Western Europe when he was 22 and he has previously been involved in YETD. His daily job puts him in situations where extreme precision is required and this is a useful skill to have in the competition. Maliar believes the strongest competition area is Super Z and he doesn’t think any particular discipline poses a major challenge.
Matej Ohojak, 29
Ohojak has been driving trucks for nine years and also participated in YETD in 2012. He currently works in the sawmilling industry, transporting timber and wood products. He regards fuel economy and defensive driving as among his strongest competition skills. His job involves negotiating narrow streets. Ohojak sees cargo securing as his greatest challenge, but is determined to do the best he can.
Pablo Rios Martínez, 30
Rios has been driving trucks for nine years. He typically drives a Scania R 500 to transport goods in England and the Netherlands. His strongest discipline is efficient driving, but he is also very knowledgeable about his truck. Even though it’s his employer’s property, Rios spends his own money on optimising the vehicle. His weak spot is manoeuvring.
Andreas Söderström, 31
Söderström won the European final of YETD in 2010. He has 12 years’ truck driving experience and has run a transport business with his father since 2008. He’s unsure what his strongest discipline is and, due to the fact that he only rarely drives a truck and trailer combination, the competition will be a challenge. His weakest skill is eco-driving.
Thomas Knüsel, 28
When doing his military service, Knüsel discovered he was got at handling heavy vehicles and since then, he has gained 10 years of truck driving experience. His strong discipline is driving in general as he also drives on his free time to become an even better driver. He also manages some administrative work as a booker, something that has given him an understanding of the industry itself. He considers cargo securing to belong to his weaker disciplines but, as he was part of the national final in 2012 YETD, he is not to be forgotten.
Denis Terendiy, 27
Terendiy has had a passion for vehicles since his early childhood. He considers his strongest competition challenges to be the Reverse Z and Knock the King, and in his daily life he enjoys the manoeuvring aspect of his job. Terendiy has a positive approach to participating in the competition. He considers his day-to-day task as equally - if not more - challenging as those in the competition.
Chris Brooker-Carey, 35
Brooker-Carey has been driving trucks for 14 years and started as a driver’s mate. He joined the family transport business in 2006. Brooker-Carey considers his strongest discipline to be theory. He has shown a determined approach to the competition, studying old YETD final videos to pick up tips. Should he claim first prize, the truck will be put to use in the family business.
A brand new
The winner of the Young European Truck Driver competition walks away with a brand new Scania truck, worth 100,000 euros. The prize also includes one-year's vehicle insurance from Scania Insurance.