Blue Rally 2021 through the eyes of Adrien and Adèle (EPITA class of 2023)
Adrien Anton Ludwig and Adèle Pluquet (EPITA class of 2023) participated in the first edition of the Blue Rally, July 8 to 21, 2021, under the team name of Les 34 Petits Chevaux. At the wheel of their vintage racing car, the two future engineers, who are currently in their 4th year at EPITA, traveled through several European countries, creating unforgettable memories. Let’s take a look back at their racing highlights!
How did you end up taking part in the Blue Rally?
Adrien: Actually, in the beginning, we were planning on participating in the 4L Trophy. This idea came about during the first lockdown, when we were simply wanting to get out of the house again. I don’t remember how the subject came up, but Adèle and I quickly realized that we both wanted to participate in a rally. And as two people are required for a crew, it seemed logical to embark on the adventure together.
Adèle: In April 2020, we began preparing for the 4L Trophy, which was scheduled for February 2021. However, due to Covid-19, the 4L Trophy was initially postponed by two months… before finally being canceled one month before the actual event! The 4L Trophy organizers told us that we could compete the following year or be reimbursed, except that we had neither the desire nor the possibility of waiting for a year. So, we started to look for other classic car races in which a 4L could participate. In the end, it was the Blue Rally that caught our attention, in particular due to the dates, configuration – 50 teams maximum -, the European countries it allowed us to visit and the fact that it was open to all ages.
The 4L Trophy has a humanitarian aspect, collecting school supplies for the children of the Enfants du Désert association. What did you do with the supplies you were able to collect?
Adèle: I would like to point out that the Blue Rally also has a humanitarian dimension, which was unfortunately suspended, due to Covid-19. We chose to donate the supplies we had collected to the Red Cross. Also, as we had some money left over, we decided to sponsor a child from the Enfants du Désert Association, financing the child’s food and everything he/she may need for school for a year!
Which countries did you travel through during the Blue Rally?
Adrien: Germany, Austria, Lichtenstein, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy! Without a doubt, Austria was the most stunning, with absolutely beautiful landscapes… and it’s also an ideal country for a rally, thanks to its perfect roads and drivers who are respectful of others! (laughs) And the weather was very mild!
Adèle: In the Tyrol region, there are many mountain passes and panoramic views… It is very beautiful! And on top of that, the Austrians we met were all nice… We had a really good time there!
When you want to do a rally in a 4L, is it useful to have basic knowledge in engineering?
Adèle: We had to look under the hood more than once, even before departure! (laughs) To participate in the start of the rally, we had to pick up the 4L in Nimes and drive it to Strasbourg. The trip went well for several hundred kilometers… until we were 100 meters from the meeting point! We then heard a clanking noise. I was driving and realized that the gas pedal was not at all firmly attached! Despite these conditions, we managed to arrive at the mechanical team’s stand on departure day to ask them for help. They dismounted the pedal and reattached it. We were then able to leave. However, 150 kilometers later, while driving through the Black Forest in the thick fog and rain, the pedal started acting up again! Luckily, the mechanical team was still there, and, with the help of a generator, they welded the pedal back on from the roadside. The pedal held for more than 4,000 kilometers, before breaking down again at the end of the rally!
Is your 4L still running?
Adrien: Yes, it is! It is actually running quite well, in fact. Moreover, we are now perfectly familiar with our 4L. It has become somewhat like our baby and as soon as it makes a noise, we know what is happening and what we have to do to solve the problem.
Adèle: Along the way, we also discussed improvements we could make for future rallies.
Future rallies? Does that mean you are ready to take part in another one?
Adèle: Obviously, we are still interested in participating in the 4L Trophy.
A rally is not simply about mechanics, it’s also a human adventure. Were you able to develop ties with other participants during this event?
Adèle: Of course! We met great people of all ages and from all walks of life. For the record, Adrien was the youngest participant in the Blue Rally, and the oldest was 82! Everybody was kind and helped each other out in the event of a mechanical problem. We had a really good time together with the 23 crews and staff.
Adrien: The rally was very well organized, especially since it was the first edition!
Learn more about the Blue Rally epic (and follow the future adventures) of the 34 Petits Chevaux team on its website and social networks (Facebook and Instagram)
Would you like to participate in a rally? Consider Épitroφ!
By creating the Épitroφ student association on the EPITA Paris campus, Adrien and Adèle decided to continue the community spirit that is at the heart of car rallies, from the 4L Trophy to the Blue Rally. New, yet highly motivated, this association provides EPITA students with advice on how to best prepare for their future motorized adventures!