Frustration for Cork rally driver Keith Cronin in British Championship

Ballylickey ace and his Killarney co-driver Mikie Galvin were the top Irish crew until a front right wheel puncture dropped them down the order
Frustration for Cork rally driver Keith Cronin in British Championship

Ballylickey’s Keith Cronin (Citroen DS3R5) and his Killarney co-driver Mikie Galvin won the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Championship in 2016. Picture: Martin Walsh.

CORK driver Keith Cronin didn’t enjoy the best of fortune on his return to the British Rally Championship in Saturday’s Nicky Grist Rally in Wales, round two of the series. 

The Ballylickey ace and his Killarney co-driver Mikie Galvin, in the Hankook liveried Ford Fiesta R5 Mk. II, were the top Irish crew until a front right wheel puncture on S.S. 6 dropped them down the order. 

The event was dominated by local Welsh drivers as Matt Edwards (VW Polo GTi R5) took the laurels - five seconds ahead of Tom Cave (Ford Fiesta Rally2) with Osian Pryce (VW Polo GTi R5) seven seconds further adrift in third, Pryce was co-driven by Killarney’s Noel O’Sullivan.

Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Hyundai i20 R5) and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes were the highest placed Irish crew in seventh place.

In the Junior BRC, Inchigeelagh’s Eamonn Creedon and his Meath driver Brian Brady finished fifth in the category after their Ford Fiesta Rally 4 suffered transmission woes.

Pryce led after S.S. 1 that was temporarily halted when Ollie Mellors/Max Freeman rolled their Proton Iriz R5 several times after it landed over a crest, fortunately, they escaped serious injury. 

Midway through the event Edwards, whose VW Polo GTi developed a misfire on S.S. 4, led Cave by two seconds with Pryce seven seconds off top spot.

Cronin was sixth but tyre choice saw his Fiesta spin on a few occasions, nevertheless, he was 15 seconds ahead of his closest Irish rival Josh Moffett (Hyundai i20 R5) with Sam Moffett (Ford Fiesta R5 Mk. II) six seconds further back.

Edwards maintained his superiority and went on to claim victory. 

Having set a good time on S.S. 5 - three seconds off fastest stage time set by Edwards - Cronin’s progress was halted when his Fiesta punctured on S.S. 6, he spun on the final stage and finished tenth.

Due to the sudden death of his father, Matt (Sr.), Douglas born Matt Griffin withdrew from the 4 Hours of Monza, round four of the European Le Mans Series. 

His replacement Alessandro Pier Guidi took pole position in the LMGTE category for the Spirit of Race team and immediately dedicated it to Matt’s father. 

Along with Duncan Cameron and David Perel, Guidi took their Ferrari 488 GTE to victory in the LMGTE category. Speaking afterwards, Cameron said, “We have to dedicate this one to Matt, who is here in spirit if not in actuality, his Dad passed away earlier this week, so our thoughts and feelings go out to the Griffin family.” 

In motorcycling, Killeady teenager Jett Quilter riding his Stomp 140cc netted two fourth and one third place finishes in the opening round of three races in the IMC (Pit Bike Championship) series at Nutt’s Corner in Belfast.

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