Driver pumped for RX debut

2017-10-03 06:06
South African rally driver Ashley Haigh-Smith

South African rally driver Ashley Haigh-Smith (Facebook)

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South African rally driver Ashley Haigh-Smith will make his World RX debut in an Olsbergs MSE Supercar at the Gumtree World RX of South Africa, round 12 of this year’s FIA world rallycross championship.

Cape Town RX is the final round of the world championship and takes place at Killarney on 11 and 12 November.

Haigh-Smith is the second South African to announce he will compete at his local event. Two weeks ago, Mark Cronje confirmed his entry in an Albatec Racing-prepared Peugeot 208 RX Supercar.

Haigh-Smith has amassed plenty of experience behind the wheel, having competed in the junior world rally championship – the only South African driver to have done so. He also holds the record as the youngest ever South African S1600 champion.

This year, he is competing in the French Peugeot 208 rally cup.

“I have always been interested in rallycross, but when I was invited to the launch of the World Rallycross of South Africa in Cape Town earlier this year, it was like a switch was tripped and I could think of nothing else,” explains Haigh-Smith. “We have to be realistic about our objectives coming into the final event of the World RX season. The competition is incredibly strong. I will give my all and be relying on the deep experience and tactical support my race team, OMSE, will offer me.”

When talking about the home support, Haigh-Smith adds: “I am a born and bred Capetonian, which makes this event extra special. Bringing World RX to South Africa is exactly what we need to boost motor sport here and get local fans excited again. It’s a fantastic showcase for the talent we have on home soil. We have the ability to host world-class events, and RX will help boost the motor sport industry, local communities and the broader economy.

“World RX has already caused a huge media splash and is showing spectacular spectator growth around the world. It comes down to the action-packed racing on show, as well as just how up close and personal spectators can get with drivers and teams throughout the event.”

Haigh-Smith is due to test the Olsbergs MSE Supercar in Europe in the coming weeks, but admits it will be a steep learning curve.

“There’s so much to learn, but you can be sure I will give my all to represent South Africa and give fans something to cheer for. I’m really pumped for November,” says Haigh-Smith.V Buy tickets for the Gumtree World RX of South Africa at Killarney in November at ticketpros and use public transport on the two days of the championships.


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