Habig and Paisley set their sights on Tour Natal Rally

2013-03-08 00:00

WITH the first round of the 2013 SA National Rally Championship, the Total Tour Natal, starting today, Jan Habig and Rob Paisley have one goal in mind, and that’s to take the Basil Read Ford S2000 to new limits.

“The start of a season not only sets the scene for an exciting rally year, but teams also set goals for themselves,” said Habig. “We are in a much better situation than we were at the start of the 2012 season, and during the off season we managed to do a spate of test sessions. I am very happy with the progress we have made,” said Habig.

“My team of technicians have been hard at work to ensure that the car is as reliable as it was last year, and I am confident that the knowledge gained in the Wales Rally has been incorporated in our build. In this very competitive class, you have to stay abreast of the continuous improvements in technology,” he said.

Being held on what are often called the finest rally roads in the world, the Tour Natal is a favourite with competitors. This year the competition will be extremely tough with any one of the top eight crews capable of taking overall victory.

Toyota have built new cars for Johnny Gemmell and Leroy Poulter, as well as for Giniel de Villiers.

“My guess is that Volkswagen have taken this break to refine their cars. Hergen Fekken and Enzo Kuun are experienced drivers who can easily clinch victory,” said Habig.

Joining the VW fray as a works driver is young Henk Lategan. Ford, who emerged as the Manufacturers Champions last year, as well as taking the South African Rally Drivers’ and Navigators’ Championship, have the reigning Champion Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton. They will be defending their title in the Ford S2000. Add to that the fact that the experienced Habig revels racing in the sugar cane fields, and the scene is set for a mammoth battle. Habig finished fourth overall on the 2012 Championship standings.

The qualifying stage to determine start positions last year has been dropped and the top eight drivers will draw their starting positions at the ceremonial start on Friday just after 11 am at the old Durban drive-in area. Teams will then travel to the South Coast. Six special stages will be contested before returning to the Durban drive-in where a super special stage will be run. The cars will be run in reverse order and build up to the faster S2000 cars.

Tomorrow morning, crews will travel back to the South Coast for the remaining six special stages in the Park Rynie area. They return to Durban for a repeat of the super special just after 2.30 pm.

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