German Operator wins 2018 Caterpillar "New Range - New Rules" Operator Challenge

Sebastian Behr from Germany has taken the 2018 “New Range-New Rules” Caterpillar Operator Challenge title after completing a series of complex challenges designed to represent real-life operator environments using a wide range of construction machines.

After competing in a series of national heats, 18 highly skilled operators—representing nine nations across Europe, Middle East and Eurasia (Czech, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom)—participated in the final competition, which was held 1-4 October at the Caterpillar Demonstration and Learning Centre in Malaga, Spain.

Six demanding challenges tested the competitors' agility, mental toughness and skills when using integrated on-board technology to maximize productivity, while also measuring accuracy in loading, moving, and driving—all against the clock.

The four-day competition required contestants to operate a range of Cat® equipment, including the new 323 Next Generation excavator; 972M XE wheel loader (with Cat Production Measurement, designed to increase operator efficiency with the use of technology); 745 articulated truck (with advanced control features and a redesigned cab); MH3022 wheel material handler (designed for application efficiency and reduced owning costs); and 299D2 compact track loader.

At the gala evening award ceremony, the contestant with the fastest time—after deductions for penalties—was announced, and Behr was named “Cat Operator of the Year”.

"This was a really tough competition, I could sense my competitors were very close” said Behr who won the competition for a third time, “I am so happy to have won and had such an amazing experience during the “New Range-New Rules” Operator Challenge final in Malaga, I will never forget it”. Behr lives in Cologne and works for the family company, Reuen GmbH, that specialises in renting operated equipment. Behr won an all-expenses paid VIP trip for two to the United States, first touring several Caterpillar high-tech R&D facilities in Illinois before heading to Las Vegas for a well-deserved holiday.

The runner-up was Paul Heffernan from Ireland; Holger Quehl from Germany claimed third place.