21 Oct Essex rally driver Tejpar gears up for Spain after Wales Rally GB disappointment
Nabila Tejpar will head to Spain this week with the intentions of putting her Wales Rally GB heartbreak behind her, as she tackles the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship, RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada (24-27 October).
The Maldon driver was unable to start her home round of the WRC earlier this month after her co-driver became ill prior to the start of the event and was forced to watch the action from the side-lines. However, Tejpar is eager to pick up where she left off in 2018 on the event, sealing a top ten class position behind the wheel of her Peugeot 208 R2.
The reigning British Ladies Rally Champion has been battling for the FIA European Rally Championship Ladies Trophy this season and will head to the final round of the series in a bid to seal the coveted crown next month in Hungary.
But Tejpar has also been seeking new challenges and has contested a handful of events outside of the championship to increase knowledge of stages and valuable seat time for the future.
Wales Rally GB was earmarked as a `must-do` event by the Essex ace and it was hard to hide her disappointment at not being able to compete.
“I was really excited for Wales and as prepared as I`ve ever been so having to miss out was devastating as you can imagine,” she said. “But Richard’s (Bliss, co-driver) health and well-being had to come first so we decided it wouldn’t be safe to compete. It took a few weeks for me to get over that but of course my attentions turned very quickly to Spain”.
Tejpar had noted WRC Spain as another important round on the world tour thanks to the gruelling stages which feature both gravel and asphalt surfaces over the course of the weekend. Experience on both loose and sealed stages are valuable in Tejpar’s future and she is relishing the challenge the event provides.
“I remember last year I thought it would be a much easier event than Wales, but I was very wrong,” she says.
“It took a while to adapt to the gravel and then just as you get settled into the stages, the format changes and you switch to Tarmac. It’s a really tough transition to manage mid-event so hopefully, last years’ experience will help in that change over this time around.”
Tejpar will be co-driven by Hugo Magalhaes who returns to the passenger seat for the first time since the Rally Zlin.
“It will be good to have Hugo in the car with me as his experience in Spain is pretty mega. He knows the stages well too and hopefully, that will give me confidence to push a little harder than before and try to secure a good class result. There is no pressure of a championship to worry about so it will all be about getting the experience of the stages and perhaps even pushing for a better RC4 class result than last year.”
RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada contains over 325 kilometres of competitive driving, spread across 17 stages. After Thursday evening’s start ceremony on Salou seafront, Friday’s gravel leg is the only gravel day of the rally, with the second and third legs entirely on sealed surfaces.