Compass? Check! Playlist? Check! Renault 4 car? Check! Bucket loads of enthusiasm? Check! Mélanie and Harmony were ready to take part in the May 2022 edition of the world’s largest rally for under‑28s – the one, the only, the 4L Trophy! This human-powered and solidarity-based sporting adventure gave participants the chance to put their orienteering skills to the – Saharan – test in Morocco. A few dunes later, these two friends took first place in the women’s category. As Renault offers a glimpse into the future of the Renault 4 by unveiling its electric 4EVER Trophy concept, the girls talk about the race like it was yesterday.
The 4L Trophy rally is a unique concept that grabs the attention of thousands of young people every year. Participants cross three countries on their 12-day route ending in Morocco, bringing school supplies for charities in the back of their Renault 4 Mélanie and Harmony, two young friends from Normandy, saw it as an opportunity to have a bit of fun while supporting a worthy humanitarian cause.
Race preparation: mechanical mastery and sponsorship seeking
Preparation is crucial for a rally like this. First, the girls needed to make sure the Renault 4 they bought online from a former participant was in good working order. Mélanie’s dad took care of this step, as he knows his way around this iconic car from his youth. The next step involved testing it out and getting used to driving it. Everywhere that Mélanie went – to the bakery, work or her favourite hangouts – the Renault 4 was sure to go. According to Mélanie, the Renault 4 is something “everyone remembers and wants to try out”. Meanwhile, Harmony had the ambitious task of collecting donations to bring to Morocco. “We visited shopping centres to collect school supplies and equipment for pupils in need,” she recalls. More than 15,000 children have benefitted from the school supplies provided by participants over the years.
Race essentials: a compass and a roadbook
Over 1,450 teams (2,900 people) set out for the Moroccan desert each year. Participants’ unforgettable 12-day adventure starts in the French town of Biarritz. One car journey to the south of Spain and one boat ride to Tangier later, the decisive desert leg of the race begins. The teams are ranked according to distances rather than times.
For Mélanie and Harmony, this unique experience is about friendship, courage and trust. Teams need to be able to navigate using a compass and a roadbook. In the Sahara Desert, the girls had to follow directions such as “Tracks, heading of 350°”.
Final race position: first place in the women’s category
Mélanie and Harmony’s only objectives at the beginning of the race were to participate to the best of their abilities, meet some incredible people and see where this solidarity-based adventure would take them. However, as the legs progressed, their chances of finishing in first place improved, and they ended up topping the women’s rankings. They weren’t expecting this at all, considering the race was, in Mélanie’s words, “full of surprises from start to finish”.