West Cork represents the shortest journey Keith Cronin will make to an event this year

Keith Cronin is predicting a “hard fought” battle on the Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally – round two of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship – despite the fact it is his home round of the competition.

Cronin was a convincing winner on the first round in Galway at in early February as he mastered wet and muddy conditions alongside Mikie Galvin to kick off his campaign in the best way possible.

He recorded quickest times on seven of the thirteen special stages to wrap up maximum points – and a first victory for M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta Rally2 on a Tarmac round since 2019 – by 38.1 seconds.

“Although I have been rallying for twenty years now, I have not actually done the West Cork Rally that many times – I think it is only three – and the most recent of them was in 2016,” said Cronin.

“Much of my rallying over the years has been abroad – in the UK mainly – so I would not have done as much in Ireland as some others, so the whole ‘home advantage’ thing does not really apply.

“Obviously, you do not have the effort and time travelling to another part of the country but beyond that you still have to make your pace notes, drive the car, and set the times like anywhere else.”  

Cronin is seeded at number three for this Saint Patrick’s weekend fixture and will have to overcome Josh Moffett – who is aiming to retain the West Cork Rally trophy for a third consecutive season in his new Citroen C3 – and the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 of defending Irish Tarmac champion Callum Devine.

Running behind Cronin for Friday’s four stages is fellow multiple British Rally champion and Ford Fiesta Rally2 exponent Matt Edwards, with Moira’s William Creighton entered in the same car as a warm-up for next weekend’s North West Stages Rally in England and Croatia Rally in mid-April, his next WRC2 appearance.

“It will be very competitive, that much is certain,” continued Cronin. “Lads like Josh and Callum have much more experience of the stages down here – they are much more familiar with them.

“I expect that Josh will have the Citroen well set-up and sorted since Galway and he will be going all out to make it three West Cork Rally wins in a row. 

“Callum did not win the Tarmac Championship by chance last year, Matt is well used to the Irish stages, and William Creighton is now a regular at World Rally Championship level. It will be hard fought and also hard won.”

Following the Friday leg – which comprises two afternoon and two evening speed tests – eight closed-road stages are scheduled for Saturday and six on Sunday. In all, crews will tackle 163 miles.

Top 10 Seeds > West Cork Rally

1: Josh Moffett/Andy Hayes (Citroen C3 Rally2)
2: Callum Devine/Noel O’Sullivan (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5)
3: Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin (Ford Fiesta Rally2)
4: Matt Edwards/David Moynihan (Ford Fiesta Rally2)
5: William Creighton/Liam Regan (Ford Fiesta Rally2)
6: Jonathan Greer/Niall Burns (Citroen C3 Rally2)
7. Ryan Loughran/Gareth Doherty (Ford Fiesta Rally2)
8: David Kelly/Dean O’Sullivan (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5)
9: James Ford/Neil Shanks (Citroen C3 Rally2)
10: Declan Boyle/Patrick Walsh (Citroen C3 Rally2)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Get notified of the best deals on our WordPress themes.

You May Also Like

Verstappen set for UK rally bow

Jos Verstappen – the father of three-time Formula One World champion, Max…

Creighton: West Cork provides a ‘good benchmark’ for me

Moira driver William Creighton has ruled out a surprise result on the…

“No substance” to suggestions Ford is leaving WRC – Millener  

M-Sport Team Principal Richard Millener has labelled suggestions that Ford Motor Company…

JWRC title setback for William Creighton

William Creighton’s FIA Junior World Rally Championship title hopes currently hang in…