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2011-12-13 10:35

HABIG SAYS 'HASTA LA VISTA, VW': Rally ace Jannie Habig (inset) is saying goodbye to the VW rally team after more than 20 years.

Six-times South African Rally champion Jan Habig has decided not to compete for Volkswagen in the 2012 season and to end a 20-year relationship with the Uitenhage-based automakers.

He won all six of his championships behind the wheel of a VW rally car.

"It's been a privilege to be associated with VW SA," Habig said. “It's very difficult to single out any one person but I feel I have to pay tribute to André van der Watt, head of motorsport, who had the confidence in me and welcomed me into the VW team in 1990.

"Then there are the technicians who are the unsung heroes in rallying – their support and hard work over the years contributed to winning championships."

Habig started his VW career in 1993 with a Golf and took his first championship in 1997.

'NOT READY TO RETIRE'

He became a works driver in 1997 and won a further five SA National Rally hampionships. Since then he has received full sponsorship and support and has been a force to be reckoned with.

"When one reflects on the past 20-odd years with VW," he said, "I have to say that leaving was a difficult decision - I've become part of the Volksie family."

However he won't be hanging up his driving gloves. "I'm not ready to retire yet. When the 2012 season starts with the Tour Natal in March I will be on the start line. An announcement outlining my 2012 rally plans will be made soon."

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