Nabila Tejpar is getting set for the next exciting stage of her career by swapping Rally4 for Rally2 power ahead of an FIA European Rally Championship push.
Tejpar, 27, battled Ekaterina Stratieva for the ERC Ladies’ Trophy title in 2019 at the wheel of a Peugeot 208 R2. Now armed with a Rally2-specification Proton Iriz R5, Tejpar has recruited two-time British Rally Championship title-winning driver Matt Edwards to co-drive.

The move follows Edwards’ decision to switch seats for his first international campaign when he hopes to make the power hike for Tejpar as seamless as possible as an experienced guiding light.

“This really is an exciting return for me after being out of action for over 12 months because of the pandemic,” said Tejpar. “It’s undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced in my career, and I don’t think anything about this will be easy at all. But it feels the right time to try and push myself and my career forwards and using an up-to-date R5 car as the Proton in a series like the European Rally Championship is the right way forward for me right now.”

Tejpar, whose father and grandfather also competed, has spent her entire career in front-wheel-drive machinery, entering the British Rally Championship in 2016 aboard a Ford Fiesta R2, before she stepped up to the Peugeot Rally Cup Ibérica for 2018 as the British Ladies’ champion. She contested the ERC-counting Rally Islas Canarias, PZM 76th Rally Poland, Barum Czech Rally Zlín and Rally Hungary in 2019 and took delivery of the Proton Iriz R5 at the end of that year.

“It was always on the cards that I was going to step up to an R5 and with the Asian links to the Proton brand in Malaysia it was the perfect choice for me,” Tejpar said of the four-wheel-drive machine, which comes with a sequential gearbox and a 1600cc turbocharged engine producing 350 brake horsepower. “I had a test or two in the car which went well, and I felt at home pretty much straight away. In fact, in some areas, it was much easier to drive than the Peugeot, very controllable and reactive.”

Of her return to the ERC, which is being supported Envirologik, Atech Racing, Environmental Biotech, CLL, Car Art, Advanced Chiropractic, Schofield Insurance, NUA Motors and Strongbox, Tejpar said: “It will be all about learning the car and adapting what I’ve learnt in the Peugeot and putting that into the Iriz and see how we get on. Having Matt co-driving will certainly help as his experience is second to none. I’m essentially not looking for big results this season, I will just push myself as far as I can and learn as much as possible for the future. I’m really excited to get going after so long out of the driver's seat, it's going to be an exciting season ahead.”
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