Cronin heads R5 field in an­other big en­try

Motor Sport News - - Report - By Ian Mills Rye­moor Tro­phy Rally

With the Clon­akilty Black­pud­ding Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship em­pha­sis now placed on R5/S2000 ma­chin­ery, it was in­ter­est­ing that 17 such cars started for the se­cond event in a row.

Alas­tair Fisher pushed hard ini­tially and led Keith Cronin un­til Cronin hit the a sweet spot with his tyre choice and forged ahead mid-way through the day. Cronin jumped in the deep end on his first gravel event in two years on the Mid Wales Stages ear­lier in the month, but a strong run in West Cork was ex­actly the tonic needed with the Bri­tish cham­pi­onship headed to Belfast for the Cir­cuit of Ire­land in early April.

Fisher fought back through stages five, six and seven but then crashed his Ford Fi­esta R5 out of the rally on stage eight.

This left Cronin out on his own and his se­cond over­all at the fin­ish means he in­creased his lead in the Tar­mac se­ries and has 32 points, with Sam Mof­fett se­cond on 26 and his brother Josh third on 22. Sam and Josh fin­ished fourth and fifth on the rally, but col­lected se­cond and third points in the cham­pi­onship. Stephen Wright had a steady run to eighth and is fourth in the points.

Joe Mc­go­nigle ran higher ra­tios in the up­per gears of his Skoda S2000 and found the ex­tra speed use­ful on the fast West Cork stages. How­ever, he made a bit of a mess of the open­ing stage, slid­ing the car into a hedge, so then spent a few stages play­ing catch-up. He even­tu­ally fin­ished 10th over­all, but still col­lected use­ful points.

Desi Henry had been in the top 10 with his Skoda R5 and was re­gain­ing his con­fi­dence fol­low­ing his Gal­way ac­ci­dent, but was knocked back when his Fabia sus­tained a punc­ture. Henry even­tu­ally re­tired be­cause a dif­fer­en­tial prob­lem was mak­ing the car wan­der all over the road.

Other driv­ers to strug­gle in that open­ing loop in­cluded Owen Mur­phy. He was slowed over the open­ing two stages with a faulty in­ter­com in his re­cently ac­quired Skoda S2000, and then the car suf­fered a bro­ken clutch re­lease bear­ing that meant for­mer forestry cham­pion Owen even­tu­ally rel­e­gated to Rally 2. He kept go­ing just to get a few miles on the car. He found the switch from his Mit­subishi Lancer very dif­fi­cult.

In­deed, sev­eral driv­ers strug­gled to get on with their R5/S2000 cars.

John Mul­hol­land has an ex-se­bastien Ogier Skoda S2000 and found it very dif­fer­ent. He put the car off on stage 11, and again on stage 12. Brendan Cumiskey has switched to a left­hand-drive Ford Fi­esta R5 and was hav­ing trou­ble judg­ing his road po­si­tion, while Aaron Machale found it dif­fi­cult to left-foot brake in his Skoda S2000. Joe Con­nolly dam­aged the front of his new Ford Fi­esta R5 on a hedge, and ran in Rally 2, fin­ish­ing 26th.

ROAD RALLY ROUND-UP

Af­ter al­most two years of near misses, Richard Hunter/gary Evans fi­nally took their maiden rally win when they dom­i­nated the Rye­moor Tro­phy Rally on Satur­day night. The Der­byshire pair led from the off. They had built up a lead of 33 sec­onds by the half­way point and ex­tended this to three min­utes at the Fin­ish.

Carl Hawkins/ Iain Tul­lie led the chase. They beat the win­ners on one sec­tion but couldn’t match them for speed on the re­main­der; they had to be con­tent with the run­ner-up spot. Adrian Green/ Ian Gib­bins were look­ing for their fourth straight win on the Mal­ton MC event, but ended up third, a po­si­tion they’d held all night. They led home a posse of Pro­tons, there were seven of the Malaysian mar­que in the top 10.

TEG Sport boss Stu­art Newby nav­i­gated Rus­sell Waller to a win in the Novice Class in their Citroen Saxo.

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