BY MARTIN WALSH
BALLYLICKEY’S Keith Cronin and his Killarney co-driver Mikie Galvin will contest Saturday’s Grampian Rally in Scotland, the third round of the British Rally Championship.
Their return to the series a few weeks ago onboard the Hankook liveried Ford Fiesta R5 Mk II resulted in disappointment when a puncture and a few spins cost the duo well over a minute. Scoring just four championship points on that occasion, they will be very determined to finish much higher up the leaderboard this weekend.
Cronin’s nemesis from previous seasons, Welsh ace Matt Edwards (VW Polo GTi R5), who leads the series, has collected 37 points from his two outings to date that also included the opening round in Oulton Park.
Cronin is focussing on extracting strong performance from the NPL Rally Hire and Preparation run Fiesta.
‘Really, I will be seeing how the season goes overall but hopefully, this weekend, I will get closer to the guys at the front,’ he says.
Cronin needs plenty of seat time but the format of the 2021 BRC is not suiting that plan.
‘This year’s events are very short and snappy really. That is the difficulty this year, you don’t have gravel events with 100 miles of stages. The plan is to get closer to the top stage times and have a clean run unlike the Nicky Grist Rally,’ Cronin explains.
The event that is based in Crathes near Aberdeen features a total of six stages totalling 44 miles. Edwards is the top seed followed by former Irish Tarmac and Forest rally champion Josh Moffett in a Hyundai i20 R5 with Welsh duo Rhys Yates (Fiesta R5Mk II) and Osian Pryce (VW Polo GTi R5) and local Scottish hero David Bogie occupying the number five slot ahead of Cronin/Galvin, who are seeded at six.
Others on the list are Matthew Wilson (Ford Fiesta), 2018 Billy Coleman Award winner James Wilson (Hyundai i20 R5) and opening round winner Monaghan’s Sam Moffett (Ford Fiesta R5 Mk. II).
Elsewhere, Inchigeelagh’s Eamonn Creedon co-drives for Meath’s Brian Brady in the Junior BRC category while Barryroe’s Dylan Doonan calls the notes for Galway’s Aoife Raftery (Fiesta R2).