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Out-of-luck Daniel Cronin slides out of Monaghan Rally

April 13th, 2024 11:30 AM

By Martin Walsh

Ballylickey’s Daniel Cronin and Dunmanway’s Donnchadh Burke (VW Polo GTi R5) in action.

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A STRONG maiden outing in the Monaghan Rally for Ballylickey’s Daniel Cronin and his Dunmanway co-driver Donnchadh Burke came to an abrupt end when they rolled their VW Polo GTi out of a strong third place during the second loop of stages.

On the same loop, Dunmanway’s Jason McSweeney and his Blackpool co-driver Liam Brennan withdrew their Skoda Fabia R5 as the former was suffering from a stomach ache.

As expected, the nine-stage rally – the second round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship – transpired to be a battle between the Moffett brothers, Josh and Sam. Through the opening three stages they were almost inseparable, Sam (Hyundai i20 Rally2) led Josh (Citroen C3 Rally2) by 1.6 seconds after the opening stage with Cronin making a bright start to occupy third, 4.9 seconds further behind. Josh Moffett was best on the second and third stage and led brother Sam by 1.7 seconds, both having won the event three times previously. Cronin continued to be the best of the rest, 23.3 seconds further behind. He was at a loss to explain how part of the front wing was ripped from his VW Polo GTi R5.

Out on SS4, a repeat of the morning opener, Cronin’s stage time was only two seconds off Sam Moffett’s time, which was the fastest stage time as he cut his brother’s lead to 1.5 seconds.

Third-placed Cronin had stretched his lead over new fourth-placed Kilkenny’s Eddie Doherty (Skoda Fabia R5) to eight seconds and another podium place (Cronin was second on the opening round Mayo Rally last month) seemed likely.  However, things went awry on SS5 when he slid wide, hit a fence and his VW Polo GTi R5 rolled into the adjacent field. Both Daniel and Donnchadh were unhurt.

With never more than two seconds between them, the Moffetts continued to battle for supremacy. Josh set out on the final loop with a 1.1-second advantage and with the best times on the final three stages, he took an 11-second victory.  Doherty was a minute and 16.3 seconds further behind in third. Barryroe co-driver Dylan Doonan and Mayo’s Brian Lavelle retired their Ford Escort during the second loop; they were third in Class 13 at the time.

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