BY MARTIN WALSH
FOUR-TIME British Rally champion Ballylickey driver Keith Cronin and his Killarney co-driver Mikie Galvin are safely through Friday night's opening stage of the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, the penultimate round of the BRC.
They finished the 11-mile Dalby stage 5.2 seconds behind championship leaders and top seeds Welsh ace Osian Pryce and another Killarney co-driver Noel O’Sullivan, also in a VW Polo GTi R5.
Londoner Ruari Bell and co-driver Max Freeman (Skoda Fabia R5) were third quickest – 9.8 seconds further behind.
At the stage finish, Cronin said, 'I was over cautious and I felt like I lost time with braking. It was difficult and a lot of dust.'
There are five stages on Saturday, and Cronin must finish ahead of his Welsh rival to take the series to the final round in late October. Should Pryce take victory, he will clinch the series for the very first time.
1. Osian Pryce/Noel O'Sullivan (Volkswagen Polo GTi R5) 11m. 18.1s.
2. Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin(Volkswagen Polo GTi R5) +5.2s.
3. Ruairi Bell/Max Freeman (Skoda Fabia R5) +15.0s.
4. James Williams/Dai Roberts (Hyundai i20 R5) +17.5s.
5. Garry Pearson/Dale Furniss (Skoda Fabia R5) +21.0s.
6. Alan Carmichael/Arthur Kierans (Hyundai i20 R5) +1m. 02.2s.
7. Eamonn Kelly/Conor Mohan (Ford Fiesta Rally 4)+1m. 43.5s.
8. Craig Jones/Ian Taylor (Ford Fiesta) +1m. 49.5s.
9. Ioan Lloyd/Sion Williams (Peugeot 208 R4) +2m. 07.8s.
10. Johnnie Mulholland/Eoin Treacy (Ford Fiesta Rally4) +2m. 16.4s.