World Rally Championship driver Craig Breen delivers in exciting Rallysprint at Nadd

Top Cork crew was Ballylickey’s Daniel Cronin and Dunmanway co-driver Donnacha Burke, who brought their VW Polo GTi R5 home in fourth
World Rally Championship driver Craig Breen delivers in exciting Rallysprint at Nadd

Ballylickey's Daniel Cronin (VW Polo GTi R5) and his Dunmanway co-driver Donnacha Burke were the top Cork crew (fourth overall) in the CFF Group Boggeragh Rallysprint near Nadd. Picture: Martin Walsh.

AS expected, World Rally Championship driver Waterford’s Craig Breen and his co-driver Peter Brennan won the CFF Group Boggeragh Rallysprint near Nadd.

Campaigning the ex-Marcus Gronholm Ford Focus WRC, they punched in the best times on all four timed runs of the 5.6 kilometre stage to take the spoils. Cavan’s Stephen McCann (Ford Fiesta R5), co-driven by Tommy Hayes finished 48 seconds behind in second spot and 12.9 seconds in front of the Ford Fiesta R5 of Carlow’s David Condell and Limerick’s Greg Shinnors. The top Cork crew was that of Ballylickey’s Daniel Cronin and his Dunmanway co-driver Donnacha Burke, who brought their VW Polo GTi R5 home in fourth position, 11.1 seconds off third place.

Elsewhere, there were class wins for West Cork pair Johnny Kenneally/Brian O’Mahony (Ford Escort), who won Class 1B; the East Cork pairing of Eoin Treacy/Eugene Cronin (Toyota Corolla) winners of Class 2B and North Cork duo James Lehane/Mark O’Leary (Toyota Starlet), who won Class 6.

Gleaming a 12.6-second lead from the first run Breen was quickly into his stride as he steered the all-powerful Ford Focus WRC rapidly through the stage. Considering it was his first gravel rally in about four years, it was a little surprising that McCann was his closest rival.

Daniel Cronin was another on somewhat unfamiliar territory, his first time on gravel in the VW Polo GTi R5, he was third - 6.2 seconds further behind and followed closely by Carlow’s David Condell onboard the ex-Joe Connolly Fiesta R5. Former national rally champion Waterford’s Ray Breen (Ford Focus WRC) and fellow countyman Keith Power (Ford Fiesta R5) rounded out the top six.

Another quickest stage time saw Breen stretch his lead to 23.2 seconds with McCann maintaining second as Condell slotted into when Cronin stalled twice - both at hairpins - one left and one right - that cost the Ballylickey driver around ten seconds. Ray Breen and Power remained fifth and sixth respectively while a misfire continued to hamper Andrew Purcell’s progress, his Ford Fiesta R5 held seventh in a top ten that also featured Kilkenny’s John Carroll (Mitsubishi), Limerick’s PJ O’Connor (Mitsubishi Evo) and Maynooth’s Pete McCullagh (Ford Fiesta R5).

With a lead of 33.6 seconds after the third run, Breen had an anxious wait when his father Ray, driving the same car, broke a front shaft off the start line on his penultimate run. However, the car was restored to four wheel drive by the Tom Gahan Motorsport team.

In the interim, McCann continued to hold the ex-Owen Murphy Fiesta R5 in a fine second place with Condell completing an unchanged top three; Cronin was 9.9 seconds further adrift. Power slotted into fifth due to Ray Breen’s misfortune, the latter dropped to twelfth.

With the best stage time of the day, Craig Breen took the laurels from McCann and Condell. At the finish, Breen remarked. “It was a great day out, the win is a bonus. It’s a great event, I really enjoyed it and thanks to the Cork Motor Club and all the marshals that stood out today.” 

Having sorted his misfiring Fiesta by changing the coil pack, Purcell set a good time on the fourth and final stage to finish fifth behind Cronin and ahead of Power.

TREACY TRIO: The Treacy trio, Allan (centre) with his children Eoin and Aoife from Killeagh pictured at the CFF Group Boggeragh Rallysprint near Nadd. Eoin and his co-driver Eugene Cronin won Class 2B while Allan partnered by Aoife were third in the same class, they both campaigned the same Toyota Corolla. Picture: Martin Walsh.
TREACY TRIO: The Treacy trio, Allan (centre) with his children Eoin and Aoife from Killeagh pictured at the CFF Group Boggeragh Rallysprint near Nadd. Eoin and his co-driver Eugene Cronin won Class 2B while Allan partnered by Aoife were third in the same class, they both campaigned the same Toyota Corolla. Picture: Martin Walsh.

Elsewhere, Claudy driver Desi Henry (Ford Fiesta R2) took an 11.2 second victory in the McEvoy Motorsport.com Turkey Run at the Shackleton complex in Ballykelly, Limavady. He reeled in early leader Castlederg’s Gareth Sayers (Ford Fiesta R5) with fastest times on the remaining four stages. Donegal’s Aaron McLaughlin (Ford Fiesta R5) was third - 18.9 seconds further behind. Barryroe co-driver Dylan Doonan partnered Tyrone’s Barry Morris (Darrian T90 GTR) to victory in the two-wheel drive category, a Class 7 win and fourteenth overall.

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