24-year-old Nabila Tejpar from Maldon, reigning MSA British Ladies’ Rally Champion and on just her second season of rallying, has announced she is going to take part in this month’s Wales Rally GB, the British round of the World Rally Championship, 26-29 October, together with her co-driver Richard Bliss, at the wheel of the same Ford Fiesta R2 she pilots in the national series.
Tejpar’s interest in rallying comes from her father Aziz, who contests the British Historic Rally Championship at the wheel of a rear-drive Ford Escort; after taking part in single-venue events to hone her skills, she embarked on her first season in the DMACK Junior Championship in 2016. On this season, despite missing only one points-scoring opportunity, she only finished fifth in the Cadet Cup, but nevertheless took the Ladies’ crown. Predictably, she is extremely excited at the prospect of competing in one of the most famous rallies on the WRC’s calendar.
“This is such an amazing opportunity for me and I feel so privileged to be able to compete alongside the best drivers in the world despite being still fairly new to the sport,” says Tejpar.
“You know, this is the event you aspire to as a rally driver, the one you always want to contest when you first get the desire to compete and just two years later, here I am with an entry to Wales Rally GB. Ever since I started in the sport I swore to myself that I would contest this event. They are some of the best stages in the world so to go and do those stages on such a large scale event will be fantastic”.
With the magnitude of the task ahead, Tejpar remains grounded along with her expectations for the event.“This is like nothing else I`ve ever done and makes the British Rally Championship rounds look like a bit of a sprint really,” she says.
“It’s three very long and hard days and nights rallying in what will undoubtedly be tough conditions in the forests. But the approach will not be too dissimilar to the way I have tackled the BRC this season. Doing my own thing at my own pace will be key and I have my sights set firmly on a finish. That in itself would be a huge achievement. I want to be crossing the ceremonial finish ramp on Sunday night and we will do what we can to ensure that happens.”
Wales Rally is the penultimate round on this year’s WRC calendar, and it will be based at the Toyota plant in Deeside: pre-event reconnaissance is scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday, 24-25 October. Shakedown and the opening super special stage will take place on Thursday, 26 October. More competitive miles will be covered on Friday 27 and, most of all, on Saturday 28, the latter day featuring some evening stages, with the leg finishing around 11pm that day. The final four stages will be contested on Sunday, 29 October, followed by the closing ceremony at 13:30.