With over 13,700 participants, VISTA 2011 was the biggest in the competition’s 53-year history. By the time registrations closed in September 2010, there 3740 teams made up from personnel from Volvo Trucks’ and Volvo Busses’ global service network. It was also the most global, with 75 countries represented and a host of new markets taking part for the first time.
In mid-September, Round One kicked off with all 3740 teams receiving their first thirty theoretical questions and exactly two weeks to submit their answers. As per usual, there were drop-outs with some teams failing to submit answers – however at only five percent, the drop-out rate was significantly lower compared to previous years.
Two months later, Round Two commenced, and teams received another thirty questions. Various success stories started to emerge from all over the world. For example, As Panteras, the VISTA team from Brazil who became the competition’s first and only all female team. Belmagistralavtotrans, the team from Belarus, who scored a perfect 30 in the first two rounds despite this being their first VISTA competition ever.
In early 2011, Round Three got underway – the last and most challenging round of theoretical questions. For the vast majority of teams, this would be where their participation in VISTA would end, with the final results deciding which lucky teams would qualify for the semi finals. Regardless of their final score, general feedback from participants remained positive, with many being able to highlight important lesions and skills they had learnt from the competition. It is estimated that the first three rounds produced approximately 370,000 hours of extra training.
From late March to mid-April, sixteen semi finals were held in eight locations worldwide, including Dubai, Johannesburg, Greensboro, Thessaloniki, Verona, Curitiba, Sydney, and Beesd. Over 150 teams from all over the world competed. This time, teams had their practical skills tested in workshops, and the standards were exceptionally high. Some results were predictable, such as 2009 champions Team Impact from Austria, who qualified through the Central Europe final in Beesd, Netherlands. Other results less so, such as Tanzania’s Serengeti Boys qualifying after finishing first in the Southern Africa semi final in Johannesburg. From the semi finals, thirty teams qualified for the world final, but such was the standard of competition that many highly skilled teams missed out.
On June 28th, all thirty finalists gathered at the Volvo Trucks Training Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden for the world final. 27 different countries were represented, with some teams having travelled from the other side of the world, and others coming from Volvo’s native Sweden. In what proved to be an intense and exciting day of competition, each team had to complete ten different work stations, each within 30 minutes.
The following night, with the tough part of the competition over, teams met up for a gala dinner and the announcement of the winners. Team NTC1 from Switzerland and Montornes 13 from Spain finished second and third respectively…but the final winner was the Avesta Cruising Club. Despite the global participation, in the end it was a team from Volvo’s native Sweden who become the 2011 world champions.