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PRETORIA, South Africa — Jan Habig and Robert Paisley took a comfortable victory in their Basil Read S2000 Ford Fiesta at the Toyota Dealer Rally. The win ensured an unbroken string of victories this year for Ford, with the Blue Oval being represented on the podium of every national championship event since the beginning of 2011.
For Habig and Paisley, who between them boast an impressive eight rally championships, the event broke a streak, which has seen Habig winless since 2009.
“It’s been a long time coming and we couldn’t be happier,” said Habig. “The car was faultless throughout the weekend and we had a trouble free run to the finish.”
Reigning national rally champions Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton had an uncharacteristically tough weekend but despite a string of mishaps the pair was able to walk away with a useful haul of points.
The duo struggled without four-wheel drive on the opening stages, lost valuable time due to a gearbox change and later shattered a wheel after colliding with a rock.
“It just wasn’t our weekend,” said Cronje. “The drivetrain problem was both uncharacteristic and unexpected putting us on the back foot from the outset. Nevertheless we managed to gain some ground on the second day ensuring we walked away with some valuable points.”
Cronje and Houghton remain in the lead of the championship by a single point from their Ford compatriots Habig and Paisley.
Both Ford crews are looking forward to the next round of the championship, the Volkswagen Rally in the Eastern Cape on July 19 and 20.