“I am overwhelmed by the support I had from everyone in the motorsport fraternity in South Africa. My sincere appreciation to the rally enthusiasts who consistently posted well wishes, sent messages and followed our progress throughout the week” said Habig.
“It has been a long week and a learning curve, not only for me but also my navigator, Robbie Durant – this being his first experience in a WRC spec car. I want to congratulate Robbie on the excellent job he did and the professional manner in which he handled this event. He never made a single mistake throughout the event and I never doubted an instruction,” Habig added. For two people who until last Sunday had never met, the communication was never lacking. “Generally I think this was a bit of a tough event for us. It was a steep mountain to climb. It didn’t quite go to our plan but these things are hard – that’s why we have come to do it.”
“The level of competition in a WRC event is phenomenal and one can appreciate why this is all they do. They prepare themselves for each event, and ensure that their focus is 100%. As I said earlier this week, there is no room for hesitation. Once or twice when I hesitated and braked, we immediately lost 1 second a kilometre. Your notes have to be absolutely precise, and this is critical as the roads in this particular event were so fast, that the top speeds we reached were 200 km/h. Most of the stages were 4th, 5th, and 6th gear and we found that we marked, for example a right 6, when in fact we only went into the corner in third.”
Yesterday Habig, competing according to Rally 2 rules, came to grips with the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, and found a good rhythm through the final day of rallying. Enjoying the stages alongside British co-driver Robbie Durant, Habig has obtained a wealth of knowledge from the M-Sport team which will only help his assault on the South African Championship in his Fiesta S2000. Running in the Super Rally in the last leg, he consistently posted good stage times.
“M-Sport is so professional at this level, and that is exactly why they achieved this overall win with Latvala behind the wheel. They are well-organised, prepared for any mishaps and they covered every base,” said Jannie. “Jari Is very much a people’s person, very friendly and happy to share his experience and is a popular figure on the WRC circuit,” he added. “If I come back again I think we will have to look for a new approach, come and do some practising and learn some more about the event before serious competition. I don’t think now-a-days you can just arrive and think you are going to get the good results!
“It was a good experience and we have learnt quite a bit. Now I think we are going to have to come back at some point and give it another go!,” said Jan.
Jan heads back to South Africa on Monday afternoon, and will immediately start preparation and testing on his Basil Read Ford Fiesta, with the pen-ultimate round of the 2012 South African Rally Championship taking place on 5 and 6 October in Polokwane.