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French driver Alexandre Stricher won the Season 2020 of the FIA Smart Driving Challenge (FIA SDC), a worldwide challenge that rewards smart, safe and eco-friendly skills at the wheel. 

Taking into account the exceptional circumstances due to the worldwide spread of COVID-19, the FIA Smart Driving Challenge Season 2020 started on 26 October 2020 and was organised around 4 ‘heats’, each a week-long. 

During the ‘heats’, the regular motorists, who joined the challenge through their Mobility Club or online, saw their driving patterns assessed in real time thanks to an AI-based phone app, powered by Enerfy, transforming real trips into a digital score. As a core innovation this year, the FIA SDC became accessible without the use of a dongle via the APP2CAR. Participants were able join the challenge through the app just by connecting their phone to their car thanks to Bluetooth. 

When joining the challenge to become the world’s smartest driver, participants are invited to choose a team led by one of a number of prestigious motor sport champions, including Abdulla Al-Khelaifi, Nasser Al-Kuwari, Kevin Hansen, Adel Hussein Abdulla, Suvi Jyrkiäinen, Jutta Kleinschmidt, Johan Kristoffersson, Andreas Mikkelsen, Sébastien Ogier, Oliver Solberg, Petter Solberg, Pontus Tidemand, Martin Tomczyk and Thiago Vivacqua among others.

585 participants worldwide and ten Clubs entered the challenge this year, including the Automobile Association of Namibia, the Automobile Association of South Africa, the Automobile Club Association, the Norges Automobil‑Forbund, the Polish Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation, the Royal Automobile Club de Belgique, the Royal Automobile Club of Norway, Svenska Bilsportforbundet, and the Union des Automobilistes Bulgares.

The twenty-two best drivers qualified to participate in the final of the 2020 FIA SDC. Adapting to this year’s exceptional circumstances, the Final took place online from 25-29 November via the FIA SDC APP. Finalists had to participate in at least four out of five ‘Final heats’, every ‘heat’ over 8 km being taken into account for the Final score, and the driver recording the best efficiency average winning the FIA Smart Driving Challenge. In the end, French driver Alexandre Stricherfrom Sébastien Ogier’s teamand member of the Automobile Club Associationwas announced as the winner of the challenge.

“After winning the 2019 FIA Electric and New Energy Championship Consumption Cup, I was looking for another challenge. I heard about the FIA Smart Driving Challenge during the 2019 Final in Paris and I entered the competition later that year with the goal to win it in 2020. To be a smart driver (…) it’s important to have a well-prepared car, with the right tyre pressure and so on... Then, you can focus on your own driving: go as smoothly as possible and watch very far away to get the information, understand and predict what will happen, and act in consequences,”he said.

FIA Deputy President for Automobile Mobility and Tourism Thierry Willemarck commented on the success of this second season of the FIA SDC despite the restrictions due to the pandemic: “We are delighted to see such an engagement across the world to improve driver behaviour. Congratulations to our second FIA Smart Driving Challenge winner! I invite more FIA Clubs to join the challenge and lead change worldwide for safer and more eco-friendly driving skills. As it is our priority to ensure the health and safety of the FIA SDC Community, we also urge all participants to continue respecting the national measures put in place by their governments to fight COVID-19.” 

President of the Automobile Club Association Didier Bollecker also congratulated the winner: “We congratulate Alexandre Stricher for winning the Season 2020 of the FIA Smart Driving Challenge and we are proud to applaude a French winner and member of the Automobile Club Association. Let’s continue to promote the FIA SDC as it enables each and everyone of us to actively and positively encourage smart driving that fosters safe, eco-friendly and smooth mobility. This is all the more important in these difficult times.”

President of the FIA Driver’s Commission Tom Kristensen added: “With all necessary health and safety measures dictated by the Pandemic and in full respect of national regulations and obligations, the FIA Smart Driving Challenge took place and we can only thank the FIA Member Clubs, Team Leaders and drivers for this achievement. This year has seen an incredible challenge with the participation of drivers from all over the world. The highest score has been achieved this season and this can only demonstrate how much the FIA SDC Community is committed. I congratulate all the participants and look forward to Season 2021.”