KEITH Cronin’s bid to win a record equalling-fifth British Rally Championship will have to wait until next season at least after his title rival, Welshman Osian Pryce, clinched a maiden title courtesy of his victory on today’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, his fourth win in the seven round series.
Cronin, and his Killarney co-driver Mikie Galvin, began the day 5.2 seconds behind Pryce, who had another Killarney native Noel O’Sullivan on the notes, both crews in VW Polo GTi R5’s.
A spin and an overshot on this morning’s opening stage, the 8.5 mile stage Cropton, cost Cronin valuable time and he dropped to third - 27.8 seconds off top spot.
Given the nature of the stages there was no real opportunity for Cronin to reel in his rival and secure a victory that would have forced a title decider on next month’s final round in Wales, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally.
Cronin was best on the last stage that saw him regain second place as Pryce, a three time runner-up, finally secured his maiden title on stomping ground that ushered in Cronin’s first of his four BRC titles back in 2009.
Meanwhile Londoner Ruairi Bell and co-driver Max Freeman (Skoda Fabia R5) finished third in the event.
Afterwards, Cronin sportingly offered congratulations to the new champions.
‘Osian and Noel have been outstanding all year, they thoroughly deserve their British Championship success. It’s been a pleasure to compete against them.’
RESULTS: 1. O. Pryce/N. O’Sullivan (VW Polo GTi R5) 54m. 12.7s; 2. K. Cronin/M. Galvin (VW Polo GTi R5) +20.4 s; 3. R. Bell/M. Freeman (Skoda Fabia R5) +26.6s.