RALLY driver Keith Cronin has opted to continue his bid to win the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Championship rather than pursue a possible fourth British Rally Championship title. Both championships clash next weekend with their respective events – the Cartell.ie Rally of the Lakes in Killarney and the Pirelli Rally in Carlisle.
The Ballylickey driver took time to decide after he made an early exit from the recent Circuit of Ireland that dovetailed as a round of both championships.
Speaking to The Southern Star on Monday night, Cronin said: ‘Yes, I’m going to Killarney. It makes more sense when you add it all up. Realistically, the British Championship is nearly over for me, so I’ll just concentrate on the Tarmac now.’
His decision is a major fillip for the TROA, the organisers of the Irish tarmac series and it will allow Cronin renew rivalry with Alastair Fisher and Josh Moffett, who has displaced Cronin as leader of the series.
Cronin took maximum points from the opening two rounds of the Tarmac series but with the non-finish in Belfast he trails series leader Josh Moffett by four points. In contrast, Cronin has just two points on the board in the BRC campaign and is already 48 points adrift of title favourite Elfyn Evans.
In Killarney, Cronin will occupy the number five berth – the first of the R5 cars behind the WRC’s of top seed Donagh Kelly, Declan Boyle and Garry Jennings. The number three spot is vacant.
The top ten seeds for next week’s Cartell.ie Rally of the Lakes is as follows: 1. Donagh Kelly (Ford Focus WRC); 2. Declan Boyle (Ford Fiesta WRC); 3. Traditionally left vacant in Killarney; 4. Garry Jennings (Subaru WRC); 5. Keith Cronin (Citroen DS3 R5); 6. Sam Moffett (Fiesta R5); 7. Alastair Fisher (Fiesta R5); 8. Josh Moffett (Fiesta WRC); 9. Alan Ring (Fiesta R5) 10. Stephen Wright (Fiesta WRC) and 11. Joseph McGonigle (Skoda Fabia S2000).
Ballincollig’s Owen Murphy (Skoda Fabia S2000) is seeded at number 11.
The two-day event is the third round of the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Championship and round two of the PlasticBags.ie Southern 4 Rally Championship.