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Lukasz Habaj: Rally Liepāja is meant for the big boys

LIEPĀJA, May 22, 2019

Two rounds of the FIA European Rally Championship season have already passed, with Latvian team Sports Racing Technologies driver and Polish native Lukasz Habaj sitting at the top of the standings. He will have the privilege of having the first start number in Rally Liepāja.

Lukasz Habaj ©

“Having the first start number does not add any pressure, as we had #1 in the previous event as well. In the Canary Islands, I really wanted to maintain my spot at the top of the championship standings. This is the home event for Sports Racing Technologies, so I wanted their car to have #1 on its side. This definitely increases the media attention, which is great for our sponsors and the team as a whole,” notes Lukasz Habaj, adding that Sports Racing Technologies always does everything possible to help in any way they can.

Lukasz Habaj ©

“I have done a lot of hard work to get where I am now. In the last 6-8 months we have been working tirelessly with SRT and it is starting to pay off. To be honest, we are a bit surprised – I had not expected the results to be this good. I knew that we will be faster than in previous years, but did not know by how much. I am happiest about our pace – we are quite fast even when driving within our limits. This gives us confidence and lets us hope that the pace will be there throughout the rest of the season.”

Lukasz Habaj ©

Before the season, Habaj told the media that he will be competing in the first four rounds – Azores, Canary Islands, Liepāja and in his home round in Poland. Before heading out to Liepāja, the 44 year-old driver mentions that he will also contest the fifth round in Rome, but that the plans for the final three rounds are not clear yet.

Lukasz Habaj, Rally Liepāja 2018 ©

In 2015, Habaj won the Poland Rally Championship, which was a great stepping stone towards international competition in the European Rally Championship, so he is no stranger to the Liepāja stages. He also finished third in Rally Alūksne this winter. “The conditions in Latvia are very different from those in Poland, as we mostly have asphalt rallies. We drive on fast roads, but what you have here is meant for the big boys. We had just one gravel rally and even that was not included in the championship calendar for a few years. I believe that the organizers in both these countries do their jobs extremely well, compared to what I have seen elsewhere. Ten to fifteen years ago rallying was very popular in Poland. Now, the situation is not as good, but we did see eleven R5 cars in the first round of our championship, so I hope that it will help with increasing the number of people coming out to the stages. The spectators are, of course, great everywhere, but here in Latvia you can feel that people truly love rallying. It might be the case that the Latvian Automobile Federation have done a slightly better job in terms of marketing.”

Considering that Poland is relatively close to Latvia, there is an expectation that some Polish fans will also come to Rally Liepāja. Lukasz Habaj uses this opportunity to send greetings to his fans: “Greetings to all fans from Poland, who will come and watch the stages in Latvia – I respect your determination! We will try to drive quickly and beautifully, so that you get your money’s worth when watching. Come say hello in the service park. I would also like to send my regards to all the rally fans watching on TV and through their computers. I hope that you will be able to come out to watch us in the next round in the Mazuria region.” We would like to add that the FIA European Rally Championship event reviews in Latvia will be broadcast on TV6 Latvija.

The last two years, Lukasz Habaj and his co-driver Daniel Dymurski have achieved their best season results in Liepāja. That will be tough to do this season, as they have already won in the Azores, following that up with a third place in the Canary Islands. There is no doubt that the Sports Racing Technologies prepared Škoda Fabia R5 will be a threat for victory. Follow the talented Polish driver this weekend, from May 24 to 26.