The 20-year-old will be competing on Rally South Africa, which takes place in the Valley of 1000 Hills and Richmond areas of KwaZulu-Natal from August 17/18.
The event is an official WRC candidate round and is being assessed for a possible date on the WRC schedule in 2014.
Based in Durban at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the features seven gravel stages, plus two passes of an all-asphalt superspecial in the city on each day of the event. The total competitive distance is 183 kilometres.
Mark Cronje, a contender for the South African championship with the Sasol Racing Rally Team, said: “I would be over the moon if I could compete in a South African world rally.”
Former Pirelli Star Driver Jon Williams also competes for the Sasol team, which runs a brace of Ford Fiesta S2000s in South Africa. “The roads in KwaZulu Natal [pictured here in 2006] are not particularly rough so I will be able to push very hard without risking damage to my car,” he said.
Giniel de Villiers, who won the Dakar Rally in 2009, is a late entrant and will drive a factory Toyota Auris Super 2000. Haigh-Smith will compete in a Ford Fiesta R2, similar to the one used as standard in the WRC Academy. He starts the event on the back of scoring his first points in the category on Neste Oil Rally Finland earlier this month. “I will use the experience from Finland to build confidence,” he said.
Meanwhile, Haigh-Smith is searching for funds for his WRC Academy campaign by appealing to members of the public to provide investment. Click here for details.