Cronin raises stakes in forestry series with late entry
Keith Cronin is a late entry for tomorrow's Moonraker Rally, round two of the Irish forestry series, as he steps up his acclimatisation to the R5 Ford Fiesta he is using in this year's British championship.
The three-time British champion, who has moved from Citroen to Ford this season, was only fourth of the opening BRC round in Scotland and will use tomorrow's Ballyvourney-based event in Cork as another opportunity to get to grips with the Fiesta ahead of the Pirelli International at the end of the month.
He will slot into an entry list which is headed by reigning Irish champion Desi Henry in his R5 Skoda Fabia and contains the Moffett brothers, Sam and Josh, the latter having just returned from a best-ever European championship result with third place in the Rally Azores last weekend.
A former forest champion, Josh won round one of the Irish series by six-10ths of a second from his brother, with Henry taking third place. Marty McCormack is in the line-up too in his R5 Skoda.
Meanwhile, Kris Meeke set the third fastest time, less than a second behind world champion Sebastien Ogier, on the shakedown stage ahead of last night's ceremonial start to the Tour de Corse.
The Rally Mexico winner in his C3 Citroen was edged out by Ogier's Ford Fiesta and the Hyundai of Hayden Paddon, but was happy with the performance of his car.
"I'm pleased to have shown that we have good speed," he said. "But the shakedown stage is pretty different to what we'll experience in the rally. The stages are long and tyre management is going to be critical."
Craig Breen was eighth fastest and the third member of the Citroen team, Stephane Lefebrve, 10th. Monte Carlo Rally winner Jari Matti Latvala was fourth for Toyota ahead of Hyundai's Thierry Neuville.