SUCCESSFUL RX DEBUT FOR SOUTH AFRICA'S CRONJE
South Africa’s Mark Cronje is well underway with preparations to race in his home round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship - Gumtree World RX of South Africa - next month.
Cronje drove a rallycross Supercar for the very first time at a two-day test in France with the Albatec Racing team last week, before racing the Peugeot 208 RX Supercar in a round of the French Rallycross Championship at Lessay.
“The Supercar is different from what I’m used to purely because the power is so explosive, but it met my expectations. Arriving at an event completely dry would be an eye opening experience, so being able to do a few laps to find my feet was very good,” said Cronje, who says there will be a number of challenges with racing in World RX for the first time. “The start procedure alone is important. The start is everything. Then you’ve got the racing mix against the guys at quite high speeds. I’m definitely looking forward to that, one of the things I missed the most when I was rallying was the racing with other people.”
On his rallycross debut in France, Cronje improved his pace throughout the qualifying stages to start in semi-final two, but was forced to retire after first corner contact. "It was a tough first day, and it was a steep learning curve. I’m a whole lot wiser now than when I arrived, it’s just a shame that the fast pace we had was not transferred into results. Changeable conditions were something that were particularly difficult to adjust to, thankfully when we arrive in South Africa the weather should be more consistent.”
The three-time South African rally champion is looking forward to racing against rally and rallycross legends like Norway’s Petter Solberg and France’s Sebastien Loeb at Cape Town RX. “It’s imperative that we’ve done some mileage already. We’re entering a top formula and you need to be able to cut your teeth before you arrive at the event. It’s always been a pipeline dream to rub shoulders with the best in the world and they most certainly are that. We are really starved for international motorsport in South Africa so it’s going to be a sell-out for sure. My hopes are to be on the pace when I arrive in Cape Town and hopefully make the semi-finals. That’s really where I’ve set my goals, but I do think it’s going to be a challenge.”
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