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French students drive engineering skills forward in Telford for road race


Two students from France have been using University of Wolverhampton engineering facilities to help them take part in a humanitarian road race to the Sahara Dessert.

Jeremy Simonneau and Antoine Maret have been restoring a 1986 Renault 4L car which they bought for 2,000 euros in order to take part in the 4L Trophy, an annual humanitarian car rally across the Moroccan desert with the objective of providing children with school supplies.

Thousands of students aged 18 to 28 from across Europe take part in the rally from Biarritz to Marrakesh, crossing three countries armed only with a compass and a map to direct them.

Jeremy and Antoine are both studying for degree courses in engineering technology at the Ecole Superieure Des Technologies Industrielles Avancees (ESTIA).

The University of Wolverhampton has partnered with ESTIA since 2005 and offers degree courses in technology management.  The French students are both studying engineering at the Telford Innovation Campus for one year as part of their three year course.

They drove the Renault 4L from France to Telford where the University of Wolverhampton Race Team (UWR) and staff have been helping them to restore the car.

Jeremy said: “We have been able to use the great facilities at Telford and have really benefited from the advice given to us by students and staff in the School of Engineering. They have given us tools, materials, a new fan for the engine and protection plates which have been specially cut with a laser tool in the workshop.”

Antoine said: “One of the Technicians, Nick, helped us to restore the chassis which had suffered from quite a bit of corrosion and he used welding equipment in order to fix it. The main objective of the race is to deliver things like books and pens to Morocco for the school children there and we are really looking forward to getting the car on the road.”

Paul Bates, Technical & Business Resource Manager at the University of Wolverhampton’s Telford Innovation Campus, said: “It has been a pleasure working with the two ESTIA students. I’m sure that the activity has benefited their learning from both a practical and project management viewpoint. It has certainly been an interesting venture and we all wish them well in the event.”

The students will drive the car back to France before taking part in the one week road rally – departing from Biarritz on 20th February 2020 and aiming to be in Marrakesh by 1st March 2020.

Picture caption: Jeremy on the left and Antoine on the right with the restored Renault 4L.


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