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irish tarmac rally championship

Cronin In Touching Distance Of West Cork Lead

Keith Cronin and co-driver, Mikie Galvin, hold second place on the overnight leaderboard of the West Cork Rally, round two of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, in their M O'Brien Group of Companies/Lyons of Limerick/Shane Casey Electrical Services Ford Fiesta Rally 2.  They lie 6.3 seconds behind reigning Tarmac Champions, Callum Devine and Noel O'Sullivan, in their Volkswagen Polo GTi after the evening's four stages.  

Devine and O'Sullivan were fastest on the first test, Ballinascarthy, 5.5 seconds ahead of Cronin and Galvin, with Matt Edwards and David Moynihan a further 5.8 seconds back in third in another Fiesta.  Josh Moffett and Andy Hayes, who are endeavouring to record a hat-trick of West Cork wins, were less than a second behind Edwards and Moynihan in a Citroen C3 Rally 2.  

The next stage, Rossmore, saw Cronin and Galvin go fastest, narrowing the gap to the leaders to 3.6 seconds, while Moffett and Hayes passed Edwards and Moynihan for third, turning a .6 of a second deficit into a .6 advantage.  

Following Service in Clonakilty, the crews tackled the same two stages after nightfall.  The second running of Ballinascarthy saw Devine and O'Sullivan go fastest again, but only by half a second from Cronin and Galvin, leaving the difference between the leading crews at 4.1 seconds.  Moffett had an uncharacteristically poor run, and dropped to fifth overall.  Edwards and Moynihan moved back into third place, with 2023 Junior World Champion, William Creighton, and co-driver, Liam Regan, climbing to fourth in the works M-Sport Ford Fiesta.  

The final run over Rossmore saw Devine and O'Sullivan record a further fastest time, extending their advantage over Cronin and Galvin by an additional 2.2 seconds, to leave the overnight gap at 6.3.  Edwards and Moynihan lie a further half minute behind in third, with Creighton and Regan another 16 seconds back.  Moffett and Hayes lost another place on the leaderboard on that fourth stage, as Jonathan Greer and Niall Burns moved into fifth in another Citroen.

Cronin was satisfied with his work on his return to Clonakilty for the night:  "It was incredibly slippery in the first stage.  There were places where you could be brave but I didn't want to be brave that early, there's a long way to go. The next one went better than the first, there wasn't as much water.  I was a bit cautious on the first one.  On the second it took a while for the tyres to come in at the start, but towards the end it was all okay.  The second time through Ballinscarthy was really tricky, it was actually wetter than the first run, I was glad to get out of it.  I was happy with the last stage, Callum is going hard, so we'll have to stay in touch with him and hopefully be able to challenge for the win after that."

The first of tomorrow's eight stages gets underway at 09:18am, while six further tests await the crews on Sunday.

External Credits:

Keith Cronin Rallying


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