Cristiana Oprea gets set for 2021 ERC comeback following 'dream' car purchase
Cristiana Oprea is working towards an FIA European Rally Championship return in 2021 following the purchase of a new car.
The Romanian made her ERC debut on Rally di Roma Capitale in 2019 in a hired Peugeot 208 R2, scoring points in ERC3 in the process.
But her hopes of a return to the championship hinged on her acquiring an FIA-homologated car in place of the Dacia Sandero she normally competes in on events in her homeland.
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oprea has managed to purchase a Peugeot 208 R2 of her own and secure much-needed backing to undertake a programme of events.
“It’s the car I dreamed of since I competed in Rome in 2019,” said Oprea, an automotive journalist by trade. “Now that I have my own FIA-homologated rally car I can finally make a full commitment to European rallies. Although 2020 was a difficult year for everybody, I managed to secure some more important sponsors. My plan is to make a full FIA ERT Balkan Trophy season and one or two ERC events. I’m looking at Roma again or Barum Czech Rally Zlín because they are closer to home, but Rally Islas Canarias has been on my bucket list for so long – and now, with the new calendar, it’s very feasible for ending 2021 on a high note.”
As well as extending her long-term partnership with Michelin, for whom Oprea is the tyre company’s ambassador in Romania, the 28-year-old has secured additional support from Walero UK, brake manufacturer Textar, FastR, APR Competition, plus her new main sponsor, UniCredit Leasing.
Platform to promote Women in Motorsport grows in stature
In addition to her work in journalism and exploits behind the wheel, Oprea continues to encourage women to participate in motorsport through the Femei în Motorsport platform she established in 2019 and which now counts on 65 members.
Oprea’s efforts were recognised at a Civil Society Gala in Romania last October although she’ll no longer form part of an all-female crew in the ERC. “Unfortunately, I’ve had to change my co-driver because Diana [Hațegan] wants to take some time off from rallying, so we will not be an all-female rally crew anymore,” Oprea explained. “But I am still consistent with my efforts to promote women in motorsport.”