“Team #24 withdraws from the 2016 South African Rally Championship”
Shortly before the start of the 2016 season, reigning national driver’s champion Mark Cronje concluded an arrangement with Volkswagen Motorsport to loan one of its 2015 specification S2000 rally cars. Volkswagen also kindly made an Amarok available to the team, with which to recce (pre-run) the many varied and challenging stages before each rally of the 2016 season.
Having piloted his new steed to a podium finish on the opening round of the national championship series (with ex-works navigator Barry White sitting alongside) the strategy was to undertake an extensive development program to further optimize the tremendous potential already shown by the VW Polo.
Having now had sufficient time in which to fully assess the needs of the planned development program, it has become apparent that the team’s self-funded budget will simply not be sufficient to both run the car and alsofine tune the package to Mark’s particular driving style.
Following extensive consultation between Volkswagen Motorsport, Stuart Thompson Racing and Mark Cronje, the team has made the difficult decision to withdraw from the 2016 national rally championship.
“This decision is certainly regrettable, but we do not want to disappoint the many Volkswagen and Cronje24 fans” said Cronje. Adding that his team had always prided itself on pushing the performance envelope, but without the necessary development budget it would simply not be possible to provide rally fans with the level of performance of which both himself and the Volkswagen Polo S2000 are capable.
Mark expressed his thanks to Volkswagen Motorsport for making one of its prized Polo rally cars available to him, and also to the valued sponsors who have supported the Cronje24 team in winning at least 1 overall national rally championship in 4 out of 5 years.