With the first round of the 2013 SA National Rally Championship, the Total Tour Natal, only days away, Habig and Paisley have one goal in mind, and that is 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. “My goal this year is to enjoy the competitive side of rallying, but always keeping in mind that we are not out there only for ‘fun’”, he added. “Obviously 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, and 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 with the continuous improvement in technology in rallying” he said.
“Once again, I am honoured to be rallying the Ford in the Basil Read colours which have become synonymous with our team, and the support from Basil Read and the minor sponsors, Ford Credit, Castrol, Babcock and Portable Shades”. New sponsors for the 2013 season is TonyKart – a popular brand of Karting in Europe and America. “Many of our rally drivers have progressed from karting to rallying, and this is certainly a step in the right direction to attract young drivers firstly to karting, and then introducing them to rallying,” said Habig. For the Tour Natal, additional sponsorship was received from Garden Court Umhlanga under the Tsogo Sun brand. “Rallying in itself is extremely costly, and every bit of sponsorship makes it easier,” said Jan.
Being held on what is often called the finest rally roads in the world, the Tour Natal is a great favourite with competitors, and this year the competition will be extremely tough with any of one of the top eight crews on the event, capable of taking the overall victory. Toyota have built brand new cars for Johnny Gemmell and Leroy Poulter, as well as for Giniel de Villiers. “ My guess is that Volkswagen, who are now partnered by Sasol Fuel, have taken this break to refine their cars and both Hergen and Enzo are experienced drivers who can easily clinch victory,” said Jan. 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 and Robin who will not be hanging around but defending their title in the Ford S2000. Add to that the fact that the experienced Jan Habig revels in the sugar cane fields, and the scene is set for a mammoth battle. Habig despite missing one event, finished fourth overall on the 2012 Championship standings.
The “qualifying stage” to determine start positions last year, has been dropped and the top 8 drivers will draw their starting positions at the ceremonial start on Friday morning just after 11h00 at the old Durban drive-in area. Teams will then travel to the South Coast with the service park in Scottburgh, and six special stages will be contested before returning to the Durban drive-in where a super special stage will be run to thrill enthusiasts. The cars will be run in reverse order, creating excitement as they build up to the faster S2000 cars – a case of saving the best for last.
Saturday morning will see an early start with crews travelling back to the South Coast for the remaining six special stages using the fast, sweeping gravel stages in the Park Rynie area, returning to Durban for a repeat of the super special just after 14h30. Total have prepared great festivities for rally spectators, and the Podium Prize giving will be held immediately after the final stage.