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irish tarmac rally championship

Edwards Halts Cronin's Tarmac Charge

In a display of tactical brilliance, Matt Edwards and David Moynihan secured victory in the Circuit of Ireland Rally aboard their Ford Fiesta Rally 2. Employing a strategic tyre strategy, they outmaneuvered their competitors to clinch the win with a commanding 14.4-second lead over Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin at the conclusion of the event.

Throughout the day, the top spot in the event exchanged hands several times between the leading crews. Edwards and Moynihan took the initial lead after the opening stage, holding a narrow .4-second advantage over Cronin and Galvin. Meanwhile, Callum Devine and Noel O'Sullivan trailed closely in third place, just seven seconds behind the leaders. Devine encountered a brief issue with his Volkswagen Polo cutting out on the stage, but his primary concern lay with the suspension set-up, which he deemed too soft.

Cronin and Galvin surged ahead on the second stage, posting the fastest time and edging out Edwards and Moynihan by a mere one second. Their momentum continued on the following stage, where they extended their lead to .6 seconds. However, Edwards and Moynihan fought back on the next stage, narrowing the gap by 1.3 seconds. By the fourth stage, their rivals managed to claw back 1.7 seconds, leaving the margin at just .2 of a second as they headed to the mid-rally service in Dungannon.

Unfortunately, Devine and O'Sullivan's hopes of defending their Tarmac championship title took a serious blow as they crashed out on stage three. This setback elevated Josh Moffett and Andy Hayes to third on the leaderboard, despite losing half a minute when they encountered cattle on the same stage.

In anticipation of the forecasted rain in the afternoon, Edwards made a strategic choice to carry the extra weight of two spare wet tires for the second loop of stages. Despite Cronin extending his lead by 4.5 seconds on stage five, Edwards' decision paid off when the rain arrived before stage six. Opting for the wet tyres, the Welshman surged ahead, posting a time ten seconds faster than Cronin's, allowing him to seize the lead.

As the penultimate test unfolded, the rain began to ease, but the roads retained damp in certain areas, keeping Cronin at a disadvantage. Heading into the final stage, the gap between the competitors stood at eight seconds, prompting Cronin to opt for the safer approach and take the points for second position,Moffett and Hayes finished in third place in their Citroen.

The victory held a deeply emotional significance for Edwards, marking his first victory in a Rally2 car since the Ulster Rally in 2021.


External Credits:

D Harrigan


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