PHOTO CREDIT: RX2 Series Media
Although best known for his rallying exploits, having competed in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship – the only South African driver to have done so – and made history as the youngest-ever South African S1600 Champion, Haigh-Smith does have some rallycross experience under his belt. He made his debut in the discipline in last season’s inaugural World RX of South Africa at Killarney International Raceway with Olsbergs MSE.
Twelve months on, the 26-year-old – a Capetonian born-and-bred – is set to return to the fray, but this time in RX2, World RX’s official feeder series. Having caught the rallycross bug, he has struck a deal with Finnish outfit SET Promotion to take the place of Simon Syversen, who has stepped aside to focus his preparations on 2019.
“I can’t wait to get back out on-track for the RX2 season finale in Cape Town,” said Haigh-Smith. “Last year’s event was epic, and it was a real honour to be a part of it. I’m really looking forward to representing South African motorsport and going head-to-head with the current cream of the RX2 crop – there are some extremely talented drivers in the field so it will certainly be a tough challenge, but I love a challenge!"
“I need to thank Andreas Eriksson from Olsbergs MSE for the support he has shown me and especially Ian Davies for putting me in contact with Jussi Pinomäki from SET Promotion, who I am looking forward to working with next weekend. I’m passionate about proving that South African drivers can truly excel on the international stage, so hopefully I can go out there and really give the home fans something to cheer about!”
“It’s fantastic to have Ashley joining SET for the final round of RX2 in South Africa,” said SET Promotion Team Principal, Pinomäki. “The opportunity for him to drive with us came about because Simon has decided to skip the event as he focusses on his programme for 2019.
“The fact that Ashley has already raced at Killarney in World RX will help him to get up-to-speed more quickly than if everything was new to him. Our two regular RX2 drivers Sami-Matti Trogen and Jami Kalliomäki will go to Cape Town having shown good pace this season, and we will use that experience to help Ashley at his home event. If last year is anything to go by, he will receive huge support from the fans.”