BALLYLICKEY’S Daniel Cronin (VW Polo GTi R5) and his Dunmanway co-driver Donnchadh Burke finished seventh in the recent Rose Hotel Circuit of Kerry Rally, the second round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship.
The event was won by Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Hyundai i20 R5), finishing 6.5 seconds ahead of Derry’s Callum Devine (VW Polo GTi R5), who won the Power Stage to claim an extra championship point.
The result was the reverse of their positions from the opening round in Longford and both drivers now share the lead on 39 points in the eight-round series which concludes with the Fastnet Rally next October.
Cronin took time to settle but picked up his pace on SS2, where he moved from ninth to seventh and, despite an error at a chicane on SS3, he ended the loop in sixth. On SS6, he slid off the road and was stuck for some 30 seconds, dropping him to ninth. Moving up to seventh by the finish, he declared: ‘I had a good last three stages.’
In championship terms (provisionally), he has moved from tenth to sixth. He is likely to miss the third round (Cavan) as it takes place the same weekend as his brother Keith’s participation in the Jim Clark Rally, the second round of the British Rally Championship.
Meanwhile, Clonakilty’s Cal McCarthy (Citroen C3 Rally2) and his Rosscarbery co-driver Eric Calnan were 20th overall. For six stages, they had reduced boost due to issues with the pop-off valve. The problem was resolved prior to the final loop, when it was traced to a hole in the engine cooler. Dunmanway’s Jason McSweeney (Ford Fiesta R5) and his Blackpool co-driver were one place behind, they lost over 40 seconds when their Ford Fiesta R5 spun and damaged the exhaust on SS2. Another Dunmanway driver, Conor McCarthy, and Dripsey’s Gavin Sheehan were 29th and second in Class 20. Kilcrohane’s Jer O’Donovan, who was co-driven by Enniskeane’s Sean Hayde, debuted a Ford Fiesta R5 and finished 53rd overall. Bandon co-driver Ella Ryan and her Limerick co-driver Hazel O’Callaghan (Escort) were 77th.
The Irish Karting Championship season got underway at Kiltorcan, Co Kilkenny recently where five local karters – three in the Iame Junior X-30 category – were competing. Ballylickey’s Colin Cronin made a strong impression and was quickest after the conclusion of all the qualifying heats. The final grid was decided by results from the pre-finals and although Cronin won his race, his time of 45.730s was marginally slower than pre-final 2 winner, Naas karter Jack Buckley (45.551s).
Cronin shadowed Buckley for the entire race and, while he made some great efforts, he just couldn’t find the space to get past his rival and finished second as he showed some fine early season form and promise. Cronin’s fastest time of the 11 laps was on lap seven with 45.542s, Buckley’s fastest lap (8) was 45.577s.
Clonakilty’s Ronan Hennessy, also racing with the DMS (Daly Motor Sport) karting outfit which has switched to the new Kosmic frame, did very well considering that he had no real pre-season testing and hasn’t raced since last November. He finished tenth with Ballymakeera’s Keith Grant, in his first season in the category after moving up from cadets, 13th – he won the junior rookie section.
In the Rotax Senior Max category, Ballylickey’s Robert Cronin took a fine victory in the category, where Clonakilty’s Patrick Hennessy made his debut and finished 12th. Although Cronin took pole position, Michael Boland led through the early laps but eventually Cronin and Shane O’Leary, who qualified off-pole, squeezed past and Cronin took the chequered flag. Hennessy, in his first ever kart race (and one test day), showed good potential.
The next round of the series is in Pallas, Co. Galway on May 6th/7th. In the meantime, Cronin prepares for his debut in the Porsche Visit Cayman Islands Sprint Challenge GB in Donington Park in two weeks’ time.