Six-time South African rally champion, Jan Habig, of KwaZulu-Natal, and his co-driver, Robert Paisley, also of KZN, will compete under the banner of local construction giant Basil Read in 2012. The pair, which resigned from the Volkswagen Motorsport team at the end of last year, will share a new Ford Fiesta S2000 in the new season.
This will mean a two-car Ford Fiesta team rallying in Basil Read colours in future, as Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich have carried these colours for the past two seasons and will continue to do so this year. The first event of the season will be the Total Tour Natal on March 23/24.
The move to Basil Read and a Ford follows plenty of speculation in motorsport circles as to what Habig and Paisley would do after Habig ended his 20-year association with Volkswagen without announcing any plans for the future except for saying he would not be retiring from rallying.
Habig won his first SA title in 1997 and followed up with further championships in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2007. He has 36 individual rally wins to his credit. Paisley won the national co-driver’s championship with Serge Damseaux in 2003 and 2004 and has notched up 21 individual rally wins, in addition to winning the Africa Rally Championship with Johnny Gemmell in a Subaru in 2002.
“We at Basil Read are delighted to be sponsoring such an experienced and successful pairing as Jan Habig and Robert Paisley in 2012, while the Ford Fiesta proved the class of the field in the 2011 rally season winning six of the eight championship rounds, “ said Basil Read CEO Marius Heyns.
“Our new signings tie in well with the younger team of Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich, who scored a maiden SA championship win in 2010 and are currently seeded as the fourth fastest crew on the local scene.
“This doubling of our involvement in rallying ties in with our overall support for motor sport that includes sponsorship of two races for 1974 TransAm and historic saloon cars at the Passion for Speed classic racing extravaganza at the Zwartkops Raceway on January 28,” added the Basil Read CEO.
“I am honoured to be associated with a company such as Basil Read, with whom I have had business dealings in my previous business career in the construction industry,” commented Jan Habig. “My negotiations with the company were both positive and professional and I am sure our future relationship will be very successful.
“I am also pleased we will have Charl and Greg as teammates, as they already have two years’ experience with the Fiesta. Our new car should arrive in South Africa from Ford M-Sport next month so that we have sufficient time to prepare for the season opening event at the end of March.”
Basil Read may be a comparative newcomer to the current motor sport scene, but its roots go back to the construction of the original Kyalami race track in 1961. The company was also involved in the construction of the Zwartkops Raceway and Phakisa circuit. Basil Read is now a vibrant player in many countries in the world, while remaining a major force on the local construction scene.
– Credit: Basil Read/bizhub Ford Rally Team.