KEITH Cronin will, after all, compete in this weekend’s opening round of the British Rally Championship, the Malcolm Wilson Rally in Cumbria.
Following a late decision to submit an entry for the seven-stage encounter, the Ballylickey ace is set to try to equal Jimmy McRae’s all-time record of five British Rally Championship victories – however, his participation in the series is, at this juncture, based on one event at a time.
Partnered as usual by Killarney’s Mikie Galvin, they will campaign the VW Polo GTi R5 they drove to second place in last year’s BRC series. Due to the late decision, Cronin is seeded at number 38 but it’s expected his start position will be at the sharp end of proceedings.
He told The Southern Star: ‘It’s all been a bit last-minute. The reality of the situation is that, up until a few days ago, I wasn’t sure if I was going to compete in the rally.’
Cronin will face stiff competition in Saturday’s rally, which includes M-Sport drivers Frenchman Adrian Fourmaux and Greek-Belgian driver Jourdan Serderidis, both with a number of WRC outings under their belts.
The event gets underway from 7am on Saturday with four stages (Hobcarton, Comb, Wythop and Greystoke) prior to service. This is followed by a pair of stages in the Griezedale Forest with a service break prior to two runs through Greystoke. The finish in Penrith is scheduled for 4.30pm.
Cronin’s ‘drive for five’ is supported by M O’Brien Group of Companies, Molson Group, Keohane Seafoods, Inver Energy, Cremin Coaches, Cronin’s Homevalue Hardware, Cronin’s Centra (Ballylickey, Leap and Union Hall), Westlink Inver Service Station and Michelin Tyres.