“Exhilarating!” That is the word Jan Habig used to express his first encounter with the new WRC spec Ford Fiesta today in Wales. Habig will compete in the Wales Rally of Great Britain that starts Thursday. He is the first South African to drive a fully developed WRC car.
Jan Habig and British navigator, Robbie Durant started testing the Fiesta in Halfren Sweet lamb, North West Wales. Habig and Durant clicked almost immediately, and as Habig put it “We were on the same page very quickly, and I am confident that making pace notes will not be too difficult.”
“We completed approximately 50 kms of stage testing today, on roads that leave absolutely no room for error,” said Habig. Testing in dry, hot conditions – very unusual for Wales, Jan said that that the Ford had lots of torque and felt really good. “It is very different to the S2000 spec I am currently running in the South African Championship and requires a more aggressive driving style,” he added. The roads are very fast and you need to carry a lot of speed, which means using the higher gears. The tracks are very narrow and will require a very precise driving technique and set-up.”
Today will see Jan and Robbie continue with testing, and typical of the weather in the UK this time of year, cloud will be moving in and some rain is forecast.
Habig and his then co-driver, Douglas Judd, competed for the first time of the QNetwotk Rally of Great Britain in 1994 and finished 8th. They then competed in Habig’s Ford Escort that he built himself in the Rally Australia and in 1998 again in the QNetwork Rally of Great Britain.
The Wales Rally GB is the 10th round of the WRC and Habig will be a member of the M-Sport World Rally team together with Matthew Wilson, Ott Tanak and Evgeny Novikov.