South African rally star Mark Cronje will contest Gumtree World RX of South Africa, the season-closer to this year’s FIA World Rallycross Championship, which takes place at the Killarney International Raceway in Cape Town (11-12 November).
Cronje, who hails from Pretoria, will drive a Peugeot 208 RX Supercar with British-based team Albatec Racing.
Cronje has extensive karting and rally experience having won the South African National Rally Championship three times (2012, 2013 and 2015).
The 39-year-old driver has limited rallycross experience but joined World RX regulars Petter Solberg and Rene Muennich at the pre-season launch back in March where he drove the RX2 car on the new rallycross circuit at Killarney.
Cronje will get his first taste of Albatec’s Peugeot 208 in a two-day test at the end of September, before making his rallycross debut alongside French rallycross regular Philippe Maloigne at Lessay on 1 October. He will then join the rallycross elite one month later as he races in front of his home crowd when World RX visits Cape Town for the first time.
“I’m really looking forward to racing in World RX, and love the fact that it will be in front of all my supporters,” explained Cronje.
“I previously won the Rotax Max World Final in front of my home fans in 2003, and it was unbelievable. I have no rallycross experience, just a very kind sponsor that enjoys throwing me in at the deep end! Albatec Racing comes highly recommended by a number of engineers and organisers."
"I’ve done some circuit racing, it’s where I cut my teeth, and I have a few karting championships, and the world final to my name, so I’m very excited about racing against other people again."
Talking about the home support, Cronje added: “There has been a lot of interest in South Africa ahead of the first World RX event as we’re starved of international motorsport, and I’m sure the event will be a sell-out."
"I’d like to mix it with some of the best in the world, and getting to the semi-finals would be awesome. The biggest challenge will be getting through all stages of the event and stay out of trouble!"
Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded: “We’re delighted that Mark has confirmed his entry for Gumtree World RX of South Africa. With Mark’s extensive karting and rally experience plus the seat-time he will get in the Lessay round of the French Rallycross Championship, I am sure that he will get up to speed in no time."
"We are continuing to work closely with the organisers in Cape Town where interest for rallycross is growing and we look forward to working with Mark in helping to promote our final round of the season over the next couple of months even further."
"I am sure that the fans will get behind Mark and we encourage everyone to buy their tickets early to ensure they can support their local hero."