CRONIN TAKES CRUCIAL WIN IN SCOTLAND
Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin have won Grampian Forest Rally in their Volkswagen Polo GTi, to further extend their lead of the 2022 British Rally Championship. The Ballylickey driver and his Killarney co-driver were fastest on five of the Aberdeenshire event’s six stages, and eventually finished with a winning margin of 21 seconds. Their nearest championship rivals, Osian Pryce and Noel O’Sullivan, also in a Polo GTi, snatched second on the final stage from Ruari Bell and Max Freeman, who were fortunate to finish after an off-road excursion in their Skoda Fabia over the final few miles. James Williams and Dai Roberts survived late brake problems to take fourth in a Hyundai i20, with Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke (Polo) rounding out the top five.
The Grampian marks Cronin’s second BRC victory of the season, having also won the Jim Clark Rally on the series’ previous visit to Scotland in May. With Pryce also taking two wins so far, Cronin recognised the importance of today’s result, ahead of the next two rounds taking place on Pryce’s home territory: “It’s great to get the win, as I said at the start of the rally, we really did need it, especially when we’re going into Wales next, it’ll be tough to beat Osian in Wales. We had a good start and we were able to manage it from there. It’s our first win on gravel in a while, so that was really good. We are leading the championship, but we need the wins in order to win the championship, it’s all to play for. Everything worked really well for us today. We had made a few changes to the car between this and the last rally, and they obviously worked”.
The day started well for Cronin and Galvin, the Killarney & District Motor Club crew taking an early lead of three seconds over Bell and Freeman on the opening test. Pryce and O’Sullivan, running first on the road, were a further second back, with Pryce reporting that his Polo was cleaning the roads of loose gravel. Cronin and Galvin extended their margin at the head of the field over the next two tests, adding six and four seconds to their advantage. The battling Bell/Freeman and Pryce/O’Sullivan shared equal fastest time on stage four, taking three seconds back from the leaders, but Cronin and Galvin were quickest again on the remaining two stages to cement the victory.
The British Rally Championship resumes with the tarmac surface Rali Bae Ceredigion, based in Aberystwyth, on September 3rd and 4th.
Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin are supported by M O’Brien Group of Companies, Inver Energy, Keohane’s Seafoods, Cremin Coaches, Cronin’s HomeValue Hardware, Cronin’s Centra (Ballylickey, Leap and Union Hall), Pirelli and EARS Ireland.
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