Habaj continues ERC adventure on a high
Łukasz Habaj will contest the FIA European Rally Championship for a fourth successive season as he looks to build on experience gained – and potential shown – behind the wheel of his Sports Racing Technologies ŠKODA Fabia R5.
Pole Habaj graduated to the ERC in 2016 after winning the Polish title for the first time the previous year. Initially reliant on Ford Fiesta R5 power, Habaj made the switch to Czech machinery for the final few events of 2018 and landed a trio of top-six finishes.
He began 2019 on a high with a podium finish on the Latvian championship season opener earlier this month, and is considering another winter event before his ERC campaign gets underway in the spring.
“We will be present in the first four rounds for sure and we will see what is the result,” said Habaj. “I changed cars at the end of last season and with the ŠKODA I hope I will be more competitive than last year. If that’s the case even the full season is possible. On the other hand, there are new cars and new drivers and before the season kicks off it is hard to say where you can really be among all the participants.
“For sure the ŠKODA is a top rally car and we also have experience in all four rallies opening the season, so I am hoping to be able to fight for top spots because it’s now or never for me.”
Habaj, who can continue to count on the services of co-driver Daniel Dymurski, turns 44 this season but is showing no sign of slowing down, judging by his impressive start to 2019.
“We are training hard to be well prepared,” he said. “We took part in the Alūksne Rally in Latvia and most probably we will do one more winter rally before going to the Azores. Thanks to this we will have even more experience with the ŠKODA, which will help to increase the speed.”
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “It’s great to welcome Łukasz back to the ERC. He’s a total professional both on and off the stages and fast to match. He’s not always had the best of luck in recent seasons but his fortunes look as though they have turned a corner and we look forward to him and Daniel building on what they have achieved so far and become regular frontrunners.”
Subject to the signing of the event promoter agreement, the Azores Rallye will open the ERC calendar from 21-23 March. Habaj and Dymurski finished a strong seventh on the spectacular gravel event last season in a Ford Fiesta R5. Their home event, Rally Poland, takes place from 28-30 June.