british rally championship

Cronin Looking To Kick-Start BRC Bid

Saturday's Severn Valley Rally marks the first gravel round of this year's British Championship, and for four-time title holder, Keith Cronin, and his co-driver, Mikie Galvin, the event represents an opportunity to get their 2024 challenge back on track following a troubled outing on the opening counter in Lancashire last month.  The Killarney and District Motor Club crew are undertaking a dual campaign this season, taking on the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and the British series in the M O’Brien Group of Companies/Lyons Motor Group/Shane Casey Electrical Services Ford Fiesta Rally 2, and while they have had an excellent start at home, taking two wins and a second place, a puncture, a spin and a variety of mechanical issues scuppered the chance of a podium finish on the North West Stages, which was won by Chris Ingram and Alex Kihurani.

"We can't afford to have many more days like that if we're to be in with a shout of the BRC title at the end of the year," said Cronin, referring to the outcome of the opening round.  "With the strength in depth of the championship entry this season, if you have any problems or time loss, especially on the shorter rallies, you won't be finishing second or third, it'll be in seventh place, like we did in Lancashire.  There's seven points scoring opportunities throughout the season, from which the best five count, so hopefully that will be one of our dropped scores at the end of the year, but it was a bit early to be using any of them up," he added.

The Severn Valley organisers have lain on a route of 62 competitive miles, which is significantly longer than the usual for a one-day gravel rally.  There are seven stages in all, ranging in length from four miles to almost sixteen miles.  "We haven't started a gravel rally in over twelve months, so that will take a bit of re-adapting", cautioned Cronin.  "It probably suits us in a way that the shorter stages are at the beginning of the rally and the longest ones are at the end.  The extra mileage overall will be a help in that regard as well, it gives more opportunity to get into the zone for the loose.  It'll be difficult to get on the podium though, Chris (Ingram) went very well in Lancashire and he's been out in an historic rally getting gravel miles in.  I expect Osian (Pryce) to be in a very strong position, he was about to challenge Chris for the lead on the first round when he had a mechanical issue, and he's at home in the Welsh forests this time around.  William Creighton isn't far away from his first BRC win either, and James Williams put in some good stage times in the North West also.  As I said, there are lots of contenders, so nobody can afford to have an off-day."  

Outside of the top ten seeds, the presence at number fifteen of Jos Verstappen, former Formula 1 driver and father of current World Champion, Max, is sure to add an additional level of interest to the event, beyond the sphere of regular rally followers, and perhaps even outside of the general motorsport fan base.  He will be driving the latest Skoda Fabia Rally 2, marking the first appearance of the model on a UK event.  "I think all of the other drivers will be intrigued to see how he gets on," says Cronin.  "It's been twenty years since he drove in Formula One, but he did Endurance races after that and took a class win at the Le Mans 24 Hours.  He only took up rallying a couple of years ago, and he's already won a few events in Belgium, including a round of their National Championship, which is very competitive.  This will be his first gravel rally I believe, so that will add another layer of complexity for him, but who knows, maybe he will come over and leave us all in his wake."

Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin are supported by M Group of Companies, Lyons Motor Group, Shane Casey Electrical Services, Molson Equipment, Pirelli, EARS Motorsport Ireland, Cronin’s Centra (Ballylickey, Union Hall, Leap, Millstreet and Dundrum), Cronin’s HomeValue Hardware, Westlink Service Station and Daybreak Shop, Cremin Coaches, Keohane Seafoods, M-Sport and Wurth Ireland.

Severn Valley Rally 2024

Top Ten Seeds

1: Chris Ingram/Alex Kihurani, Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

2: William Creighton/Liam Regan, Ford Fiesta Rally 2

3: Osian Pryce/Rhodri Evans, Ford Fiesta Rally 2

4: Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin, Ford Fiesta Rally 2

5: Garry Pearson/Daniel Barritt, Ford Fiesta Rally 2

6: Elliott Payne/Patrick Walsh, Ford Fiesta Rally 2

7: Matthew Hirst/Declan Dear, Ford Fiesta R5

8: James Williams/Ross Whittock, Hyundai i20 N Rally 2

9: Meirion Evans/Jonathan Jackson, Toyota GR Yaris Rally 2

10: Callum Black/Jack Morton, Ford Fiesta Rally 2

Severn Valley Rally 2024


Friday 12th April

Scrutiny, Royal Welsh Showgrounds, Builth Wells, 13:00 - 18:30

Ceremonial Start, The Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells, 19:00

Saturday 13th April (First BRC Crew Due - Approx. times)

Event Start, The Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells, 08:40

Stage 1: Sarnau 1, 09:19

Stage 2: Tarennig, 10:11

Stage 3: Myherin, 10:33

Stage 4: Hafren Sweet Lamb, 11:39

Service In:  Royal Welsh Showgrounds, Builth Wells, 12:53

Service Out/Regroup In: Royal Welsh Showgrounds, Builth Wells, 13:53

Regroup Out: 14:10

Stage 5: Sarnau 2, 14:51

Stage 6: Myherin Main, 15:43

Stage 7: Hafren Main, 16:56

Finish Ramp: The Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells, 18:15

External Credits:

Keith Cronin Rallying/Image - Martin Walsh


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