With Europe, South America, and Australasia already represented the participation of South African Ashley Haigh-Smith brings the total number of continents represented to four.
Haigh-Smith, who competes in his national championship back in South Africa, will contest the final two WRC Academy events in France and Great Britain, albeit without being eligible to score points following his late addition to the line-up. He has never tackled an asphalt-based rally before.
“My main reason to be competing in the next two rounds of the WRC is to gain valuable experience in preparation for my future WRC goals and then use the knowledge I have gained to see where my weaknesses are and improve them in preparing myself for next year in the WRC Academy,” said Haigh-Smith. “I also need to gain experience on Tarmac as I have never done an asphalt rally before, so I think it will be very interesting and a challenge.”
He continued: “I need to find out the WRC Academy pace and then I’ll know what to expect for next year. It won’t be easy though, because the current WRC Academy crews have already been fighting for four rallies, so they’ll be pushing to their limits.”
Haigh-Smith joins German Sepp Wiegand in committing to the one-make category for Ford Fiesta R2s.
The WRC Academy Cup resumes on Rallye de France Alsace from 29 September to 2 October. After four rounds, Egon Kaur, from Estonia heads Irishman Craig Breen in the standings having won the first three events of the season. Brendan Reeves, from Australia, is third overall.