CAPE-TO-CAPE, A RESOUNDING SUCCESS
By Julian Nettlefold
06 Jul 09. Renualt Trucks invited a team of journalists, which included BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold, to witness the arrival of the Cape-To-Cape Kerax and Sherpa vehicles at the Cape of Good Hope on Tuesday July 7th.
The Cape to Cape convoy arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, the final destination of its journey – on time on July 5th
After the final bend, the Cape to Cape Keraxes and Sherpas stopped at the end of a road cut off by the ocean. They can go no further south and have reached their destination: the Cape of Good Hope opens up before their eyes. In spite of the cacophony of truck horns which marked the moment, it was a solemn one indeed.
After a little over four months of adventures and all sorts of ups
and downs, both teams and machines ended up meeting the challenge.
Stefano Chmielewski, CEO of Renault Trucks, was there to welcome them, expressing his pride at their achievement.
Stefano Chmielewski, CEO of Renault Trucks, looked over the bay to the people and bring them together around an event such as Cape to Cape, and beyond of course, around our brand,” he said. “It is a real satisfaction and I’m immensely proud because once again Renault Trucks has kept its promises!”
Behind him, the whole team congratulated each other. Telephones started to ring. Messages of congratulation from the whole world came in thick and fast: families, friends, colleagues, former adventure participants and customers from Russia, Ukraine and Argentina saluted the arrival of the convoy. It was a magical moment. Drivers and crews climbed down from their Sherpas and Keraxes to meet the crowd that was there to greet them. Cameras were in “rapid burst” mode! They were met by faces and smiles full of awe.
“This is a great day for Renault Trucks in South Africa.” he said.
He then went on to describe the conditions the trucks had driven through from the start on March 8th. Over the 30,000 kilometres covered the trucks had experienced temperatures from minus 25 degrees C to plus 58 and altitudes from minus 400 metres to over 4000 metres. There were five Kerax trucks and six Sherpa trucks at the end of the Expedition as one Kerax was run into in Tanzania.
The Editor joined the journey in Jordan where we witnessed the desert driving conditions which both vehicles tackled with little problems. CAPE (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.11 ISSUE 16, 17 April 2009, TO CAPE – RENAULT PUTS ITS TRUCKS TO A GRUELLING TEST). The Expedition used 60 drivers from 13 countries selected internally after a gruelling test in a location in France from a list of 100 candidates. Five Renault staff including Elsie De Nys, second project manager and Pierre Alain Brendel Project Manager of the whole operation, took part in the whole journey. Seventeen countries were crossed and 800 articles written about the event. A book is being written about Cape-To-Cape followed by a video and a film on French TV. Renault estimated that the Company several hundred trucks to dealers introduced to the Kerax and Sherpa during the event.
“Not only was Cape-To-Cape a spectacular and unique event it enabled Renault Trucks Defense to engineer enhancements to the Sherpa vehicles such as wiring along the chassis and other problems encountered. The vehicles delivered for the event were prototypes built by Renault Trucks Defense using existing military chassis with new bodies. I aim to develop the Defense business from its current base of €4oo million in 2008 up from €70 million in 2003 to at least €600 million. We will sell most of the vehicles after we have taken off the stored electronic data which will be sued to enhance the performance of both vehicles. Michelin will take back all the used tyres which suffered very little wear considering the extreme conditions. ” Stefano Chmielewski continued.
“Did you ever consider cancelling the event because of the recession?” T