Cronin Eyes Title after Ulster Podium Defending British Rally Champion Keith Cronin took a major step towards retaining his title when he brought his Pirelli TEG Sport Subaru Impreza N15 home in second place on this weekend's Toddsleap.com...
Cronin Eyes Title after Ulster Podium
Defending British Rally Champion Keith Cronin took a major step towards retaining his title when he brought his Pirelli TEG Sport Subaru Impreza N15 home in second place on this weekend's Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally which comprised the penultimate round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship.
The 23-year-old Irishman, along with co driver Barry McNulty finished just over a minute and a quarter behind start to finish leaders Craig Breen and Gareth Roberts but the fact that main rival Gywndaf Evans retired his Mitsubishi halfway through today's stages means that Cronin holds the upper hand going into next month's International Rally Yorkshire.
But it wasn't all plain sailing for Cronin, from Cork, despite setting six fastest stage times out of the 14 special stages. Only sixth after two stages yesterday, the Pirelli Star Driver shoot-out winner of last year had to claw his way back into contention which he did to hold second place overnight, just 20.9 seconds behind Breen's Ford Fiesta S2000.
The unforgiving lanes of Northern Ireland saw the drama continue today and as Cronin narrowed the gap to Breen to just 17.6 seconds, a road penalty saw the crew docked a minute so it was simply a case of consolidating second place which they did to make it two podiums and two victories out of the five rounds run to date.
Making it a successful day for the Carnforth-based TEG Sport team was Bristol driver Adam Gould and co driver Craig Drew who overcame the disappointment of retiring in the last round to bring their Subaru Impreza home in a fine fourth place overall to ensure a decent points haul in the teams' championship for the defending champions, which will also be decided on next month's finale in Yorkshire.
Cronin simply needs a finish in the top ten in the final round to guarantee his second successive British crown but with the tough Yorkshire forests standing between himself and that accolade, neither he nor the TEG Sport team are taking anything for granted just yet.
Keith Cronin: "I'm really happy with the result today, but we can't relax, the title isn't in the bag yet although I only need a top ten finish on the last round to secure the Championship. I could let Craig Breen go this weekend, my fight was with Gwyndaf and I did the job by putting in some tremendous times in order to put the pressure on Gwyndaf and it's worked."
Adam Gould: "The pressure was on me to prove I could bounce back from the accident in the Isle of Man, not only with the car preparation but also to mentally get back on the pace and I think I've proved that this weekend. I needed to show I have the consistency and I think I've done that so I want to say a big thank you to the effort put in by TEG Sport for this rally. I'm over the moon to have helped them claim maximum team points as well."
Stuart Newby - TEG Sport Team Principal: "We have come away leading both the individual and team championships so I cannot fault the level of commitment from both the team and the drivers. This is the best result we could have hoped for and we have a lot to celebrate. We began proceedings on Tuesday at an exclusive test venue, where the team spent a full day setting up the car as time invested there was going to be vital in preparation. We have managed to get the best out of our new suspension settings from our partner, Tein, and it has proved on the event that the pre-event testing has been well worthwhile. Keith put some fantastic times in last night and that put Gwyndaf under pressure, and that was the plan to try and force a mistake. Adam drove brilliantly this weekend and I can't fault him at all. He drove a real sensible rally showing that he has the pace if not the budget. He has done a very professional job for the team here and what a great job, this second and fourth is more like a 1-2 finish for us."
The final round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship takes place on 24/25th September with the International Rally Yorkshire based in Scarborough.
-source: teg sport