British rally Championship: Cronin shows his class
Keith Cronin has become the first Irish driver to win back-to-back British rally championships.
A safety first approach saw the 24-year-old from Ballylickey in Co Cork secure a solid third place on the final round, the Yorkshire International, to retain his BRC title in the TEG Sport team’s Pirelli Subaru.
Victory went to veteran Welshman Gwyndaf Evans with Ulster’s Alastair Fisher second in a one-two finish for the JRM Mitsubishi team but with Cronin only needing a place in the top six it wasn’t enough to prevent him remaining champion.
But that, explained Cronin, brought its own pressures. “It was one of the most difficult rallies I’ve ever done. I knew I only had to finish but I would have looked really silly if I had made a mistake and put the car off the road. I couldn’t go at my natural pace and I’ve never concentrated so hard in my life on going slowly! It was a big relief to cross the finish line.”
And on a day of Irish celebrations, fourth place went to Daniel McKenna, the 23-year-old Monaghan driver turning heads with a stunning performance on his first cross-channel event.
It could have been even better but Craig Breen rolled his Ford Fiesta onto its side on the fourth stage, before finishing in ninth place. Meanwhile, Martin Cairns won the Bushwhacker Rally in his Subaru to record his first victory in the Northern Ireland championship.