M-Sport Ford World Rally Team has announced a fourth driver for its Wales Rally GB line-up, with South African Jan Habig joining regular points scorers Ott Tänak, Evgeny Novikov
and the returning Matthew Wilson.
Currently competing behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta S2000 in the South African Rally Championship, the tenth round of the WRC will see Habig graduate to the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, liveried in the colours of his South African sponsor, Basil Read.
The Welsh event may mark Habig's debut in the modern WRC car, but it will not be his first venture to the world stage, having surprising the world with a credible eighth place finish when he contested the 1994 Network Q RAC Rally in a Ford Escort built and prepared in his homeland before going on to contest Rally Australia in 1996 and Network Q Rally of Great Britain in 1998.
Habig began his rallying career as a privateer in 1983 and soon found himself as a member of Nissan's factory-supported team. He made the move to VW in 1994, winning six South African Rally Championships alongside the manufacturer. Making his debut with the Ford Fiesta S2000 alongside Basil Read at the Total Tour Natal Rally earlier this year, Habig is currently holding third place in the South African Rally Championship after securing two successive podium finishes.
“I look forward to rallying with the M-Sport team, and believe that we will gain a tremendous amount of knowledge," Habig commented, "I am confident that we will be in a position to apply this knowledge and further enhance the performance of our SA Ford Fiesta [S2000], not only for the remainder of the season, but also for the future.”
Joining Habig in the navigator's seat will be British co-driver Robbie Durant. Known for partnering Harry Hunt in the Intercontinental Rally Championship, Durant is an accomplished navigator having contested seven WRC events in his career, making his debut on the British event in 2010 when he partnered fellow Briton Jason Pritchard to 20th place overall.