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Tejpar bids for Peugeot Cup experience at WRC Portugal

 
Nabila in action
Nabila Tejpar will head to WRC Portugal for Iberican Cup opener 
Image credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography - Click to download high res version -

British rally driver Nabila Tejpar will make one of many trips to mainland Europe this week as she embarks on a season in the Iberican Peugeot Sport Cup, beginning with round six of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC),  Vodafone Rally de Portugal (17th – 20th May).

 
After sealing the Prestone MSA British Ladies Rally Championship title in 2017, the Maldon rally ace has secured a deal to head to the ultra-competitive series after making the upgrade to the latest specification Peugeot 208 R2 at the beginning of the season. Richard Bliss from Weston-Super-Mare will return to the co-driver’s seat once again in 2018.

The opening round of the single-make championship offers one of the toughest events on the World Rally Championship calendar and the best drivers in the world will tackle the dusty and rocky mountain roads of the Porto region in Portugal. Iberican Cup contenders will compete across the first nine stages of the event which amounts to over 150km of competitive action.

At just 24, Tejpar has only been rallying competitively for just over two years and has only recently managed to complete her very first WRC event in October when she tackled the British round of the series, Wales Rally GB. Portugal will throw up a very different challenge as she will need to concentrate on not only getting round the infamous stages, but to rack up valuable points in the Iberican Peugeot Sport Cup to boot.

Just three months ago, Tejpar was due to embark on her third season in the British Championship and when the opening round was cancelled due to the “Beast from the East”, the Essex star thought she would need to wait until April to resume her defence of the Ladies title.
 
Nabila Tejpar
Nabila in action - Click to download high res version -

However, she was offered an opportunity by Portuguese preparation firm PT Racing to contest the single-make Peugeot series. In a bid to further progress her skills behind the wheel, Tejpar worked hard to secure the funding to contest the six-round championship which contains two rounds of the WRC.

The first of which, in Portugal, kicks off the series and Tejpar is anticipating one of the hardest week of her rallying career ahead.

“This really is going to be one of the toughest things I have ever done but at the same time I`m so excited to be competing in the Iberican Peugeot Sport Cup, and what a way to start it off with a round of the World Rally Championship” she says.

“There is nothing like throwing yourself in at the deep end but to a certain degree I think that’s what I need. Doing the Cup over there is all about progressing myself as a driver and there is no better way to learn than getting stuck in and I guess, learning the hard way. WRC Portugal is an amazing event so it will be a feat in itsef, but I do have to have one eye on the points table for the Cup too”.

Tejpar and Bliss tackled the Rali de Mortágua in April as a pre-season warm up and despite ending the event with broken steering, believe it was a valuable lesson for the season ahead.

“We were having a really good run but I just cut a corner too much and clipped an unseen boulder which damaged the car so we retired on the spot. But I think I learnt more in those 4 stages than maybe a whole event here in the UK so I do think I`m ready for the task ahead. It won’t be easy, but at this stage of the season I want to enjoy the experience and get to the end, so that will be the ultimate goal this week”.

The Vodafone Rally de Portugal takes place between 17th – 20th May with the start on Thursday evening, followed by a spectator stage around the Lousdada RallyCross Circuit which offers the chance to get settled in before the first full day on Friday.

Day two of the event heads north for eight stages and after a repeat run of the 18km and 26km tests before another super special stage in the town centre of Porto rounds off the event for the Peugeot crews.

Tejpar is sponsored for the third year by Pump Technology and newly acquired support from Matrix Construction, as well as continued support from NUA Motors, Advanced Chiropractic, Allied Polymer, Lumi and Environmental Biotech.
Posted by Matt Cotton on 11 May 2018 18:32

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