PIRELLI HEARTBREAK FOR TEG SPORT The Pirelli TEG Sport Rally Team suffered the cruellest of fortunes when defending British Rally Champion Keith Cronin was denied victory on the very last stage of the Pirelli International Rally based in ...
PIRELLI HEARTBREAK FOR TEG SPORT
The Pirelli TEG Sport Rally Team suffered the cruellest of fortunes when defending British Rally Champion Keith Cronin was denied victory on the very last stage of the Pirelli International Rally based in Carlisle today.
Having won the opening round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship last month, Cronin and co driver Barry McNulty were hoping to make it two out of two and were in control after leading throughout the event but less than 200 metres from the end of the twelfth and final stage the Subaru ground to a halt after suffering a puncture which in turn damaged the wiring loom. Cronin gallantly got the car to the end of the stage but any hopes of victory, and with it maximum points, were shattered.
The Pirelli Star Driver from 2009 had set a scintillating pace from the start last night and held a 24-second advantage going into today's nine stages in Kielder Forest. From then on he maintained his lead despite a strong challenge from Welshman Gwyndaf Evans, and held a 17-second advantage going into the last stage, but to no avail as it turned out.
Pirelli TEG Sport team-mate Euan Thorburn and co driver Paul Beaton were also out of luck when after setting fifth fastest time on SS1, the Scotsman suffered a puncture on last night's second stage dropping ten minutes after stopping and changing the wheel in the dark.
Faced with a monumental battle during Saturday's nine stages, Thorburn bravely battled back into contention and at half distance was up to 22nd.
A concerted effort through the final three stages saw the former Scottish Champion claim 14th at the finish to salvage precious little consolation for the Carnforth-based team.
Keith Cronin: "I knew I had to push because Gwyndaf was closing and when I punctured I knew I couldn't ease off and sadly it didn't work out for us. It's a very sad way to lose a rally by coming so close and I feel especially sorry for the team who have worked so hard this weekend. We'll put this disappointment behind us and now look forward to the rest of the season."
Euan Thorburn: "I'm so disappointed. It was always about who was going to get punctures and who didn't and there's no way you can bounce back after losing so much time. We now need to focus on the rest of the season and I hope to put in a good performance on my home event, the Jim Clark Rally, next time out and in the meantime both myself and the team will be looking to get some extra practice in when we contest the Manx Rally in a couple of weeks time."
Stuart Newby, TEG Sport: "What can I say? It's very disappointing. Keith was controlling the pace to maintain a gap and not do anything silly, but 'Killer Kielder' lives up to its name as 50% of the entry has been affected by punctures this weekend. It's just not been our weekend but looking at the stage times it proves that both Keith and Euan were on the pace so I guess we can take some positives from that."
-source: teg sport