Go to the Dakar as a university internship: "Many look at our car with suspicion"

15 college students from Nebrija College design one of many autos taking part within the rally and supply help on the bottom. “There shall be issues that go improper, nevertheless it additionally occurs to Audi. We’re right here to be taught,” says Sergio Corbera, head of the challenge.

Nebrija college students work on the Plaza automotive.Alberto PrezNEBRIJA

Within the Dakar camp, in these early levels, mechanics from varied groups crowd across the automotive of Manolo Plaza And your daughter Monica. Is totally different. At first look the automotive already seems to be lighter than final 12 months and likewise extra aerodynamic; in brief, sooner. It is attention-grabbing. Subsequent to them, some youngsters clarify that they’ve been in command of designing the modifications and that they’ve achieved it as sensible work for his or her Diploma. Them? so younger? Sure, sure, they. They’re a part of the staff from the Nebrija College of Madrid which have devoted themselves in latest months to bettering the Plaza’s 4×4 to make sure that it reaches the end line in Jeddah on January fifteenth. Recent air for a rally by which most of them have recognized one another for years and years.

“I feel many have a look at our automotive with distrust. They suppose: ‘How is a automotive designed by some youngsters going to finish the Dakar? However we belief all of the work now we have achieved. There shall be issues that go improper, nevertheless it additionally occurs to Audi. And, moreover, that is why we’re right here: to be taught,” he says from Saudi Arabia. Sergio Corbera, director of the Nebrija Car and Mechanics space and one of many individuals in command of the challenge. A number of months in the past, I introduced collectively 15 college students, 10 from the Mechanics and Automotive Diploma and 5 from the Grasp of Competitors Autos, and obtained them enthusiastic about how you can enhance Manolo and Mónica Plaza’s Sodicars BV2, a dependable however out of date automotive. The children’ shock got here when he instructed them that they’d actually modify the automobile and that, as has occurred today, a few of them would journey to the rally to assist on the bottom. An thrilling challenge, a priceless lesson, which was born from an accident. From a critical accident.


As a result of Manolo and Mónica Plaza may have missed the decision from Nebrija College. Final 12 months, the daddy, a veteran of the Dakar, who debuted in 1996, and his daughter, who has been co-driver for 3 editions, have been hit by a truck within the fourth stage and their cell phone was broken. It labored solely sometimes and turned off with out warning till it did not activate anymore. Fortunately, in these throes of the system, when the Plazas have been on the airport on their approach residence, they acquired the decision from the Nebrija lecturers. They appreciated the concept of ​​having the assistance of some younger individuals and so they just like the consequence much more now.

A five-year challenge

“They’ve quite a lot of information and quite a lot of enthusiasm. They lack expertise, working with their palms, observe, nevertheless it’s regular. That is why they’re right here. Due to their work now we have managed to lighten the burden of the bodywork, enhance aerodynamics and ventilate the automotive. This 12 months now we have not had time for extra. We have now developed essential components, however we didn’t wish to deliver them right here to the Dakar as a result of we had not examined them”, explains the pilot Manolo Plaza, who says that the challenge is deliberate for 5 years to return and that his intention is that the scholars find yourself modifying all of the components, together with the engine. That then he runs what is just not is one thing else. At 62 years outdated, after taking part in numerous editions of the Dakar in Africa and competing in occasions around the globe, he’s learning how you can hand over to his daughters, each of whom are dedicated to their ardour for rallying. Mónica, who now acts as co-driver, has already pushed within the Spanish Championship and has achieved so with the assistance of her sister, Martha. “It is time to make approach for them,” he admits, enthusiastic concerning the plan with Nebrija.


Their union, actually, appears tailored. Of all the most important car competitions, the Dakar is presumably the one with essentially the most lax laws, the one that permits extra mechanical modifications, and improvements don’t at all times come from the massive groups. The professors at Nebrija College knew this and that’s the reason they referred to as the Plazas, in keeping with their account, their first choice, they’d not provided it to every other pilot earlier than. “For the time being every thing matches. The character of the Dakar additionally favors us. In System 1 or in endurance races, all or, no less than, the bulk struggle to win. Within the Dakar the target of many is to reach, it’s to advance, and that is splendid for a college challenge like ours”, concludes Sergio Corbera, one of many lecturers who led a gaggle of younger individuals to one of the best practices of their lives.