Belfast Telegraph

Cronin dismisses quit talk

By Sammy Hamill

Keith Cronin has stepped in to dampen down speculation that he has quit rallying – or is planning to emigrate to Australia.

The first Irish driver to win back-to-back British championships, Cronin has no definite plans for next season and has turned down an offer to drive for Proton in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge series.

Currently on an extended holiday in Australia, the 24-year-old from Ballylickey says he “keeps an eye on the internet” and is aware of the rumours.

Writing on his website Cronin says: “Just to re-assure anybody, I have not retired.

“I have spent the last four years fully committed to rallying even while completing my final accountancy exams and holding down a full-time job.

“As British rally champion, this year has been the busiest of all. The reigning champion is expected to fulfil certain commitments on top of defending my title and competing in the IRC.

“It has been a very demanding year and this is one of the reasons I'm in Australia, trying to make up for the last few years and trying to travel like most of my friends have managed to do.”

Cronin confirmed he was offered a full season in the IRC with the Anglo-Malaysian Proton team but says: “With certain commitments as British champion and some planned holidays I was not in a position to accept that offer.

“I will not be making any definite plans for 2011 until after my return to the Emerald Isle.”

He says he plans to be back “just before Christmas” but then adds to the speculation by writing: “This is not definitely confirmed and is therefore subject to change if circumstances vary.”

His decision to go on holiday rather than prepare to start the new season on the Monte Carlo Rally with Proton, has mystified many. Regarded as the Irish driver with greatest potential since the emergence of Kris Meeke, Cronin is known to be disillusioned by the lack of opportunities to progress beyond the British championship.

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