Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - Re­sults Pho­tos: Martin Walsh

feel­ing his way, hav­ing crashed his Citroen DS 3 R5 at a test ses­sion two days be­fore the rally. How­ever Cronin did step up the pace in SS3 to take a hand­ful of sec­onds back from Fisher.

How­ever, the fight was over on the next stage, as Fisher’s Fi­esta R5 un­der­steered on a muddy cor­ner, clipped a bank and flipped over. The car was heav­ily dam­aged, a sea­son’s ef­fort to win the Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship over in a split sec­ond for Fisher. For­tu­nately nei­ther he nor co-driver Gor­don Noble suf­fered any in­juries. It meant Cronin was all but as­sured of the ti­tle.

Many driv­ers were caught out in the dif­fi­cult slippy con­di­tions. At ser­vice it was time to take stock of the sit­u­a­tion. Cronin led by 17s from Fi­esta WRC driver Roy White, with the Moffett broth­ers Sam and Josh in third and fourth re­spec­tively.

Through the af­ter­noon stages both Josh and Sam Moffett upped their pace con­sid­er­ably. Cronin was in a dif­fi­cult po­si­tion fol­low­ing Fisher’s re­tire­ment, and pos­si­bly, with his mind on the Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship, re­laxed too much ini­tially. Cronin dropped 11s to Sam Moffett in SS5.

By the end of the af­ter­noon, as the cars were put into parc ferme, Cronin still led, but by just 8s from Sam Moffett, with Roy White a fur­ther 5s back, 1s ahead of Josh Moffett. There was just 14s be­tween the top four then, with all to play for through Sun­day’s six stages.

Day two was sunny and mostly dry, but there were damp spots un­der the trees and hedges. Josh Moffett was fastest on the opener, then White topped the times and on the third stage of the loop it was Josh Moffett who took the stage hon­ours and the over­all lead, over­turn­ing brother Sam and Cronin. Josh said at ser­vice that noth­ing less than out­right vic­tory would do him.

White also had his eye on the big prize. Cronin, now sec­ond over­all, was adamant that he wouldn’t get sucked into a dog­fight, the Tar­mac ti­tle was his only goal. SS12, the sec­ond run over Badgers Hill, al­most turned Cronin’s dream into a night­mare as, care­ful as he was in steer­ing clear of haz­ards, ditches and pot­holes, his Citroen in­curred a fron­twheel punc­ture. He lost around 40s and slipped to fourth. Josh Moffett, White and Sam Moffett all had a fastest time over the fi­nal loop of three stages.

Josh Moffett held on and ful­filled his vic­tory dream and Cronin took the Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship. In the dash for the line White was rel­e­gated to third be­hind Sam Moffett. Cronin held fourth ahead of DGM team-mate Jonny Greer.

Last-minute twists in­cluded Pau­ric Duffy slid­ing his Fi­esta R5 into a ditch on the penul­ti­mate stage, break­ing a steer­ing arm and los­ing his ninth over­all place. There was heart­break for young Marty Gal­lagher too, his fine drive to lead R2 com­ing to naught when his Peu­geot 208 de­vel­oped fuel feed prob­lems on the fi­nal stage. This al­lowed Cal­lum Devine in his Opel Adam take the cat­e­gory and 10th over­all giv­ing him the two-wheel-drive ti­tle in the Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship.

Brian Bro­gan bounced back from a misty win­dow screen to win the na­tional rally ahead of Tommy Doyle (Re­nault Clio) and Calum Duffy (Skoda Fabia S2500).

Cronin won the Ir­ish Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship Cork ‘20’ In­ter­na­tional Rally Josh Moffett took his first In­ter­na­tional vic­tory on the Cork ‘20’

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