History made at the Volvo Trucks Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge 2015 - A Motoring-Malaysia Report


I was over in Hua Hin, in Thailand to witness some history being made in the Asia Pacific trucking scene. The Volvo Trucks Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge 2015 saw Ms. Louise Marriott became the first female driver and New Zealander to be named Asia Pacific’s most fuel-efficient driver. This was the first time Volvo Trucks has included women participation, four women, representing the expanding number of female drivers within the Fuelwatch community and the industry-at-large. 




The Volvo Trucks Fuelwatch Challenge kicked-off its local/country editions in Asia Pacific earlier this year, and saw 17 top drivers qualify to contest for the title of the region’s most fuel-efficient driver in the on-road and off-road categories at the Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge 2015. This included four women, representing the expanding number of female drivers within the Fuelwatch community and the industry-at-large.

To win the title of the most fuel-efficient driver in the on-road category at this year’s Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge, Ms. Marriott clocked 17.5% less fuel compared to the highest amount of fuel burnt at the event. 


Now aside from the on-road challenge, there was an off-road challenge too, this was won by Mr Ravi Poleboina of India (pictured above). He clinched the top prize with a notable achievement of 12.5% less fuel consumption relative to fellow contestants.

The Volvo Trucks Fuelwatch Challenge is something intriguing and technical. It was held this year at the Kaeng Krachan circuit close to Hua Hin. Participants must navigate a Volvo FH 440 Prime Mover with a tanker trailer (filled with at least 20 tons of water) through the tight and undulating 3 over kilometer circuit as economically as possible but they cannot be too slow. They must do three laps of the circuit, reach a maximum speed of 60km/h on the straight (and not more than that) and complete the whole three laps in under 13 minutes. And they have to beat 16 other contestants to win. And then, the top three finalists would have to duke it out on the actual roads outside the circuit. Not as straightforward as you think.

The circuit...in not so many words is bloody beautiful to drive on

It is not as easy as you think as I did two laps on the circuit in the same truck (At the same time I wish I was blasting through this circuit in a Honda Civic Type R as it is fabulous!!!!!!). Whilst driving the rig was actually easy due to the fabulous technology fitted in the Volvo (I-shift gears, almost auto everything, good visibility and power), it is still the driver that is needed to ensure when you need to step on the accelerator, maintain a constant speed, coast  downhill like a pro and more management overall. To just step on the accelerator and go 'Powaahhhhhhhh' is easy, this driving economically stuff isn't a walk in a park.

I suppose this could be the reason why Ms Marriott won. A gentle touch for something so big could be actually needed. If you also asked me why Mr Poleboina of India won, you should actually see the types of roads he traverses (super narrow roads carved into hills, mountains and ravines I presume). He could be a driving God. Who knows.


Now a bit about our Malaysian champion and representative. I have the utmost respect for Mr Nor Rahmat Bin Abd Talib from Prifaria Sdn Bhd (pictured above) . He was down with a cold and was not at all well when he competed. But the dedication in him was commendable. He was loaded up with medicine and competed anyway. From what I heard, he did not do too bad. A champion in my books.

So history has been made. The first female champion of the Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge has been crowned. She would make her was to the world championships in Gothenburg sometime next year.

On a separate (and on a very self praising note), Malaysia did not come home empty handed. Yours Truly, the chap who runs this website, actually won something for Malaysia - Most Active Journalist beating journalists from 10 other countries in the Asia Pacific region. How the heck I managed that is a mystery actually (they provided us with a FitBit activity tracker each for this). Maybe it was from all the walking during the event and the shopping during all the free time as well as repeated trips to the local tailor to get the safari jacket below done. But didn't I do Malaysia proud? Of course I did.



Press Release (and more pics down below)

History made at the Volvo Trucks Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge 2015

  • New Zealand’s Ms. Louise Marriott became the first female driver and New Zealander to be named Asia Pacific’s most fuel-efficient driver
  • Mr. Ravi Poleboina from India emerged as this year’s most fuel-efficient driver in the off-road category
  • Fuel-efficiency margins clocked by the winners of the on-road and off-road categories would result in significant cost savings in a real-world context


[18 SEPTEMBER 2015, SINGAPORE]Volvo Trucks, a global leader in sustainable transport solutions, saw a record-setting Volvo Trucks Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge 2015 yesterday. Following an inspiring performance at the grand final in the Thai city of Hua Hin, Louise Marriott from New Zealand was announced the most fuel-efficient driver in the on-road category.

Ms. Marriott became the first female driver in the competition’s illustrious history to achieve a podium finish at the event, joining Ravi Poleboina from India who was awarded the most fuel-efficient driver in the off-road segment. In addition to being the first female driver, Ms. Marriott was also the first representative from New Zealand to attain the top prize at the Fuelwatch Challenge.

The competition, recognised as an annual mainstay event in the industry, embodies the company’s Fuelwatch mission towards a fuel-efficient industry model. During the event, participants attended a one-day training session on fuel-efficient driving techniques and technical expertise, followed by the Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge grand finals on the second day.

Encouraging inclusive growth

This Volvo FMX was used for the Off-Road Challenge


The Volvo Trucks Fuelwatch Challenge kicked-off its local editions in Asia Pacific earlier this year, and saw 17 top drivers qualify to contest for the title of the region’s most fuel-efficient driver in the on-road and off-road categories at the Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge 2015. This included four women, representing the expanding number of female drivers within the Fuelwatch community and the industry-at-large.

Expressing her elation over the record-setting performance, Ms Marriott said: “I’m absolutely pleased to be this year’s most fuel-efficient driver and to be the first contestant to bring the trophy home to New Zealand. While our industry is often thought of as being male dominated, the Fuelwatch Challenge has been a great platform for us to show that all drivers, regardlessof gender, can perform at the highest level while being fuel-efficient. I look forward to sharing the experience at Fuelwatch with my colleagues back home.”

Fuelling positive change

The three on-road finalists

To win the title of the most fuel-efficient driver in the on-road category at this year’s Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge, Ms. Marriott clocked 17.5% less fuel compared to the highest amount of fuel burnt at the event.

In the off-road category, Mr. Poleboina clinched the top prize with a notable achievement of 12.5% less fuel consumption relative to fellow contestants.

Within the industry, fuel can account to up to 50% of the operating costs of a typical haulage business. Based on the fuel-efficiency margins recorded in the on-road and off-road finals, this would inarguably translate into significant cost savings potential in a real-world context.

Congratulating Ms. Marriott and Mr. Poleboina on their achievements, Christophe Martin, President of Volvo Trucks in Asia Oceania added: “I am delighted and proud to witness history made at this year’s Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge 2015, with the first female driver joining the ranks of past Fuelwatch winners. Louise’s achievements will no doubt encourage aspiring female drivers, which will benefit the industry as a whole.”

Mr Martin further commented: “We at Volvo Trucks are firmly committed to the Fuelwatch mission of optimising performance at minimum cost to businesses, society and the environment. Since our inaugural event in 2007, the more than 15,000 participants of the Fuelwatch Challenge have become ambassadors of the Fuelwatch community, sharing the skills and technical knowledge that they have picked up at the event to catalyse our goal of a fuel-efficient industry. Together with them, we look forward to championing the Fuelwatch mission for the industry and the society”. 

Tips for all


National champions 2015


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