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Triton Showers national rally championship

Cronin’s Celebrates Maiden National Rally Championship Win

Daniel Cronin and Donnchadh Burke drove their way into the Triton Showers Motorsport Ireland National Rally Championship history books by taking their maiden championship win in Carlow on Sunday.

“It will be an easy drive back to West Cork tonight,” said Cronin as he reflected on his win at the finish ramp, “These are some of the best stages I have ever driven.”

The fourth round of the championship was filled with drama that included the retirement of both winners of the previous three rounds.

Josh Moffett and Keith Moriarty were first to hit trouble. They clouted a bank on the first stage. The Citroen C3 Rally2 crew finished the stage in 11th place and nearly 15 seconds off the pace setters, Sam Moffett and James O’Reilly.

But the joy of the older Moffett was short-lived. He put his Hyundai i20 Rally2 off the road on stage three.

By this stage, the Volkswagen Polo R5 of Cronin and Burke eked out the tiniest of leads. Just 0.3 separated the Mayo winner Sam Moffett and Cronin when the clocks stopped at the end of the second test.

Josh Moffett was in the midst of an incredible recovery drive and was back up to third overall as the cars arrived in service for the first time.

However, he too joined the growing retirement list after a track control arm broke in his Citroen and put him out of the rally.

He did re-join under Super Rally rules to salvage some championship points.

While all this drama was going on, Cronin found himself the surprise leader.

At first service, he admitted he was concerned about how tight the margins were. Sitting just 4.7 seconds behind was the Toyota Yaris Rally2 of Meirion Evans and Jonathan Jackson.

It was a historic day for the visiting Welsh crew for many reasons as they gave the new Toyota its Irish debut ten years to the day that Evans made his own Irish rally debut. His prime reason for entering the Carlow Rally was to gain tarmac mileage ahead of the British Rally Championship counting Jim Clark Rally in Scotland next weekend.

He found himself in a tight battle with Eddie Doherty and Tom Murphy. The relatively local crew and Evans swapped second and third place for much of the rally but the Skoda Fabia R5 team eventually got the upper-hand and took the runner’s up spot – their best performance on a National round to date.

“We are happy with our pace, maybe we could have gone harder, but I did not want to give the team anymore work with just four days to the Jim Clark Rally,” said Evans at the finish.

All the while Cronin and Burke controlled their lead to take a popular maiden victory in the series.

Declan Boyle and Patrick Walsh were the best of the Boyle family.

The Citroen C3 Rally2 crew took a deserved fourth place and won the one-make Citroen prize fund too.

Son Michael and co-driver Dermot McCafferty were just one place and 0.7 of a second behind in their Volkswagen Polo Gti R5.

Kevin Gallagher and Ryan Moore won the all-important Modified battle in their Darrian GTR T90. The Donegal crew reported no dramas on their way to their third Modified category win of the season.

Stuart Darcy and JJ Cremin were on their first outing in a right-hand-drive Polo and grew more and more comfortable with their new machine as the day progressed. Seventh overall was just a reward for the Donegal/Cork crew.

The same pop-off valve issue that hampered Gary Kiernan’s progress on the Birr Rally last month returned for the early part of the Carlow Rally. The Ford Fiesta R5 driver, co-driven this time by John McGrath, admitted that he was not just driving fast enough once the problem was solved and eventually finished eighth.

David Moffett finished ninth. He and co-driver Martin Connolly overcame a faulty sensor issue to finish second in the Modified category in their Toyota Starlet.

The rally also incorporated the 20th anniversary of the Mk2 Challenge. Frank and Lauren Kelly won what was described by one of his main rivals as a very tight race.

Driving the famous Baby Blue Escort, they finished tenth overall to boot. It was Kelly’s third win, but his first with his daughter alongside and 11 years since his previous win.

They were lucky to make the finish as a single bolt held the car’s alternator over the final loop of three stages.

Michael Carbin and Dean O’Sullivan were eleventh overall and were just over 14 seconds behind the Kellys at the finish.

“All good,” said Carbin at the midday service. “It is tight racing.”

Michael Cahill and Killian McArdle completed the Mk2 Podium. Matthew Boyle won the Billy Coleman Award counting Class 2 in his Peugeot 208 Rally4.

Welsh visitors Adrian Evans and Martin Henry won the historic class in their Ford Escort while the Honda Civic of Jordan Jervis and James McBrearty topped the time sheets in the Junior rally. Round five of the championship is the Circuit of Munster Stages Rally which takes place on June 2.

External Credits:

Motorsport Ireland


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