IAL team meets tough competition at 2021 I-1 Grand Prix

Taking place in its new-look virtual format, the Isuzu World Technical Competition, otherwise known as the I-1 Grand Prix, was run and won on 9 December 2021. 

Pitted against formidable competitors across 40 international teams, the Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) team fought valiantly but fell short of a podium finish this time around.

Isuzu Motor’s annual international ‘friendly’ competition attracts the cream of Isuzu’s technical talent from around the world, with the teams battling it out for the top spot in several rounds of technical knowledge, theory and practical diagnostic exams.

As determined by the National Technical Skills Competition (NTSC) held earlier this year, the country’s top two Isuzu technicians hailed from the fertile fields of Queensland, with young gun Harrison ‘Harry’ Minnis (Brisbane Isuzu Eagle Farm) and Leading Hand Jason Peterkin (Tony Ireland Isuzu, Townsville) pairing up to form a robust IAL team. 

In past years, each team had the opportunity to physically represent their dealership and country at the I-1 GP event held at Isuzu Motor’s facility in Japan.

Due to COVID-19, this year technicians competed in both ‘individual’ and ‘team’ events virtually from their home country, under the watertight rules of the new e-Competition. 

Each team was up against a series of Interactive Virtual Online Diagnostics (IVOD) tests, time challenges and theoretical exams which challenged their service-related skills, dealing with diagnosis, repair, assembly, systems management, inspection and problem-solving.

In preparation for the competition, Minnis and Peterkin underwent a strenuous three-week training course under the supervision of experienced IAL Technical and Fleet Service Manager for NSW, Jeff Berry.

Peterkin, who had competed previously in the I-1 GP (placing team fourth in the 2018 competition), commented on the calibre of competition this year.

“The tests are getting harder, and this year’s was definitely daunting being fully virtual, but it came out to be a well-polished event,” said Peterkin.

“The level of experience and competition is always very, very high.”

By nurturing a competitive, yet friendly environment with events such as the annual I-1 GP and National Technical Skills Competition (NTSC), IAL said it inspires its nation-wide dealer network to train more experienced technicians, with the ultimate aim of better outcomes for Isuzu Trucks customers.

“So much hard work and training goes into preparing our technicians for both Isuzu’s NTSC and the I-1 GP,” commented IAL National Service Technical Manager, Brenton Cook.

“One bonus of this preparation is that our technicians improve their problem-solving skills, practice working under pressure and think outside the box when it comes to diagnosis and repair. 

“This can only result in benefits down the line for Isuzu customers, reducing truck downtime and ensuring they receive the best possible service from our dealerships.

Cook extended his congratulations to Minnis and Peterkin for a fantastic effort.

“I’d like to encourage every Isuzu technician to get out there and have a go in 2022. As the team has proven this year, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, he said.

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