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Slow start is costly for Cronin in Birr

April 27th, 2024 9:00 AM

By Martin Walsh

Slow start is costly for Cronin in Birr Image
Ballylickey’s Daniel Cronin and Dunmanway’s Donnchadh Burke (VW Polo GTi R5) in action.

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BALLYLICKEY’S Daniel Cronin (VW Polo GTi R5) and his Dunmanway co-driver Donnchadh Burke finished fourth in last Sunday’s Garahy Family Birr Rally, round three of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship. The nine stage event was won by Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Citroen C3 Rally2) and his Limerick co-driver Keith Moriarty, who finished 17.6s ahead of Monaghan pair Sam Moffett/James O’Reilly (Hyundai i20 Rally2).

Donegal’s Paul Kelly (VW Polo GTi R5) co-driven by Monaghan’s Arthur Kierans were 44.5s further behind in third, they were not registered for the championship and that allowed Cronin/Burke to claim third placed (16) national championship points, moving them from sixth to fourth overall in the series. Josh Moffett set the pace and with the best times on all three stages of the opening loop he led his brother Sam by 12.9s. Kelly held third but Cronin was one of five drivers chasing him down, the Ballylickey driver a mere 1.9s shy of third. ‘I was a bit slow on the first two stages, I don’t know why, the third stage was fine, the roads are very dusty,’ Cronin said at the service park. The Moffett brothers continued to dominate and by SS6, Josh led Sam by 16s and while Kelly retained third, Cronin slotted into fourth 1.7s behind the Donegal driver. Even though he had a moment on SS8, Josh took victory with Sam securing the additional bonus point for fastest time on the final stage.

Kelly posted the second best time on SS9 to secure third with Cronin 10.2s behind. ‘I had understeer in a few places but fair play to David (Kelly) he drove hard on the last stage,’ said Cronin. Elsewhere, Dunmanway’s Jason McSweeney and his Blackpool co-driver Liam Brennan retired their Skoda Fabia R5 with an electrical issue having lost substantial time on SS6. Barryroe co-driver Dylan Doonan and Cavan’s Aaron McIntrye (Toyota Starlet) took a fine victory in Class 13 where they finished with a 13.9s winning margin.

Results: 1. Josh Moffett/Keith Moriarty (Citroen C3 Rally2) 52m. 44.2s; 2. Sam Moffett/James O'Reilly (Hyundai i20 Rally2)+17.6s 3. David Kelly/Arthur Kierans (VW Polo GTi R5)+1m. 02.1s; 4. Daniel Cronin/Donnchadh Burke (VW Polo GTi R5)+1m. 12.3s; 5. Michael Boyle/Dermot McCafferty (VW Polo GTi R5)+1m. 17.8s; 6. Declan Boyle/Patrick Walsh (Citroen C3 Rally2)+1m. 23.8s.

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