20 Mar Essex rally driver Tejpar secures first JBRC points at the West Cork Rally
Nabila Tejpar enjoyed a strong run at the Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally last weekend, to secure her first Junior British Rally Championship points of the season with eighth place at the popular Irish rally (16th/17th March).
The Maldon rally driver headed to the Clonakilty based event, round two of the JBRC for the very first time and overcame treacherous driving conditions during the opening day to guide her Peugeot 208 R2 to a solid JBRC finish. She also secured fourth Peugeot home, narrowly missing out on a slice of the £4,000 prize fund on offer from Peugeot and Total.
Tejpar would aim to get her season back on track at the arduous Irish event after rolling out of the season opener in February. Despite contesting the Irish event for the first time, the 25-year-old would be aiming for a much better result across the 15 stage, 200 kilometre event.
The closed public roads around the rally base provided a picturesque backdrop for the rally, with stages hugging the coastline which backed onto the Atlantic Ocean. A severe weather front on Saturday morning heralded a difficult start for the 160 crews in the event as driving wind and rain made the stages even more trying with standing water turning the stages into an ice-like surface.
Eager to ensure a finish this time around, Tejpar threaded her Peugeot 208 through the lanes and did her best to stay out of trouble. With drying conditions in the afternoon loop of stages, Tejpar began to push as her confidence increased and by the end of the opening day, she would find herself in 10th place in the Junior rankings.
Day two dawned much brighter and gave Tejpar the opportunity to increase her pace during the leg’s six stages. Whilst standing water and mud strewn roads were still very much part of the conditions ahead, she and co-driver Max Freeman enjoyed a trouble-free run to return to the Clonakilty finish in a very respectable eighth place, bagging her first points of the season in the process.
“It’s been a truly excellent rally for me and despite the weather yesterday (Saturday) we battled on and just made sure we made it to the end of the event,” said Tejpar.
“It was pretty important for my confidence to get a finish after what happened on the Cambrian and to manage it on a legendary event such as the West Cork Rally is very satisfying. I`m slowly edging towards where I know I need to be pace-wise too, so that’s a very encouraging sign for next weekend.”
Having crossed the finish in Ireland, Tejpar would fly straight to Spain to prepare for the next round of the Peugeot Rally Cup Iberica, which like the West Cork Rally, takes places on closed asphalt public roads.
Rallye Sierra Morena (22/23 March) marks round two of the series which Tejpar is dovetailing with her BRC campaign. She believes her West Cork experience will help at this weekend’s event.
“There is never any substitute for seat time so to be able to literally do one tarmac rally on weekend and follow it up with another the next is always going to make the second rally easier,” she says.
“That said, I didn’t do this rally last year so there will be plenty still to learn. I really enjoyed the first round in Portugal on gravel so hopefully I will be closer to where I need to be on asphalt this weekend. It would be nice to think I can get points in the Cup to replicate my BRC result but there is some strong competition out there so we will see”.