MALDON rally driver Nabila Tejpar has made an impressive start to this season's Prestone MSA British Rally Championship.

The 23-year-old ranked fifth in her group and was 28th overall at the first stage of the championship, in Jedburgh.

She is now preparing for the second stage of the championships which take place in Carlisle, at the end of this month.

Tejpar said: “My car was brand new last year and I was still getting used to it but now I really feel settled in and I’m ready for the course.

"Jedburgh didn’t start fantastically, with a puncture before we reached the first stage but we did get some vital points on the board which has set us up well for Carlisle.

"I’m feeling positive and looking forward to building up speed and improving at every stage.”

Tejpar followed in her father and grandfather’s footsteps in showing a keen interest in cars from a young age and hopes to continue the family legacy by eventually rallying full-time.

She said: “My grandfather was a works driver for DAF in Kenya and my Dad was Group N Champion in Kenya, so it’s definitely in my blood.

“I’m pretty sure my dad wanted a son who would carry on the tradition so when I showed an interest, he was surprised but delighted; now he can live vicariously through me!”

Tejpar's parents told her she needed to graduate before embarking on a career in rallying.

Following a degree in International Business in Washington DC, she headed back to England to start her career in 2015. A new face on the rallying scene, Nabila suffered a knockback at last year’s British Rally Championships when her Ford Fiesta R2 rolled, causing her to suffer from a detached retina.

She added: “My car flipped and the impact caused me to damage my right eye, it was really scary and definitely knocked my confidence.

"It did make me think about what I’m doing and my mum actually asked me if I really wanted to continue rallying.

"But I love it and for me it’s worth the risk.

“People often ask me what it’s like being a woman in a very male dominated sport but for me gender is irrelevant and I don’t see myself as different to anyone else.

"I’m as good as who I’m competing against and that’s all that matters.

"Of course it would be great to see more girls getting into rallying but that’s just because it’s such a great sport."