Habaj switches focus after 2019 ERC title heroics
Łukasz Habaj is putting his bid for more FIA European Rally Championship success on hold as he takes on a challenge of a different kind due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Co-driven by Daniel Dymurski, Habaj was part of the three-way fight for ERC title glory on last season’s Rally Hungary decider, eventually placing third in the standings for Sports Racing Technologies behind Chris Ingram and Alexey Lukyanuk. However, he’s preparing for another sort of battle in 2020.
As well as being a highly accomplished rally driver, Habaj is a successful businessman and entrepreneur. And he’ll be switching his skills from behind the steering wheel back to the office desk, as he explained.
“I’ve been able to focus on my beloved sport of rallying for the last four years, trying to deliver the results that reflect my sporting ambitions and goals,” said Habaj, who won last season’s Azores Rallye. “After what we achieved in the ERC in 2019, I was determined to come back this year to do better than third.
“But the main asset in my business portfolio, eSky.com, a travel company, is in real trouble due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is an organisation with 1000 employees, they’ve fought to keep going for 14 hours a day for the past two months and I cannot leave them alone now.
“That’s why I have taken back the position of CEO at eSky.com and this practically makes it impossible for me to compete in the ERC.
“Even though rallying is deep in my heart, it’s just my hobby, while the situation we are in has had a big impact and it needs my attention. But I also know there are many people around the world being badly affected by COVID-19, so all our thoughts are with them.”
The fluid nature of the coronavirus pandemic means Habaj cannot commit to an ERC return date. While he’s unlikely to compete in 2020, he’s not ruling out more ERC appearances in the future.
Five Habaj ERC highs
1: Makes European championship debut on Rally Poland in 2005
2: Wins class on first international event, Rally Islas Canarias in 201
3: Scores maiden ERC podium on the 2017 season-closing Rally Liepāja
4: Battles through the wind and rain to clinch breakthrough ERC victory on the Azores Rally
5: Podiums in Canarias and Poland and fourth in Cyprus puts him in title contention on Rally Hungary