Cronin pipped to the flag on DS3 debut
The David Greer Motorsport team from Carryduff may have taken delivery of a pair of DS3 Citroens only in the days leading up to the Bulldog Rally, but they finished second and sixth respectively on round two of the British championship in Wales.
Drivers Keith Cronin and Jonny Greer had almost no time to adapt to their front-wheel-drive characteristics after years in four-wheel-drive cars but Cronin, the first Irish driver to win back-to-back British titles in 2009 and ’10, showed he had lost none of his speed and ability as he finished just three seconds behind winning Welshman Tom Cave and ahead of Finn Jarkko Nikara.
But Cronin, halted by a fuel pump failure, only made it to the finish in Welshpool after the rally was cut short because of a fire blocking the route to the final service halt.
Mark Donnelly, who won the opening round of the BRC series, was an early casualty this time, crashing his Renault Clio at the flying finish of the second stage.
Behind Greer, another Ulster driver, Desi Henry who had been second to Donnelly on round one, finished seventh as Citroens filled seven of the top 10 places.
Matthew Cathcart was 12th in his Ford Fiesta but Alastair Fisher was forced to retire when a fuel leak saw his Fiesta catch fire shortly after stage five. Following crews, including Cronin and his co-driver Marshall Clarke, helped to extinguish the flames.
Meanwhile, Petter Solberg and his Ulster co-driver Chris Patterson won the Fafe Rallysprint, a prelude to this weekend’s World championship round in Portugal.
Their Ford Fiesta WRC edged out the Citroen of eight-times World champion Sebastien Loeb by 200ths of a second.