Cronin wins Rally Isle of Man and lifts the BRC title

By John Watterson   |   Sports Editor   |
Saturday 16th September 2017 4:19 pm
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Keith Cronin (right) and Mikie Galvin celebrate their win in 138.com Rally Isle of Man and the British Rally Championship ()

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Ireland’s Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin won the 138.com Rally Isle of Man by the narrowest of margins on Saturday to secure the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship.

In a rally of various issues and one extremely spectacular crash, the M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 crew managed to hold off a strong two-pronged challenge from BRC rivals Fredrik Ahlin/Torstein Eriksen (Skoda Fabia) of Sweden and Norway respectively, and Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod (Fiesta R5) of Wales.

In a bizarre penultimate stage, a herd of cows wandered onto the stage close to Port Soderick railway station right in front of Cronin and Galvin’s car.

They halted and waved other crews down prior to the stage being stopped.

At the restart, first car on the road, the Mitsubishi Mirage of Jamie Jukes and Dave Williams clipped the inside of a rock face right-hand turn on Marine Drive and shot across the road over the drop, barrell-rolling 80 feet before coming to rest on a ledge.

Emergency crews were quickly in attendance and Williams, who was the more seriously injured of the two occupants, was extricated from the badly damaged shell of the car and hauled up to the road on a backboard/stretcher.

Both of the crew were then transported to Noble’s Hospital, with Williams believed to have suffered unconfirmed back injuries.

The rally, and ultimately the championship, was decided on the final ‘Classic’ stage from Druidale to the TT Grandstand.

Ahlin and Eriksen took it by nine tenths of a second, but the day/round crucially went to Cronin/Galvin by a mere tenth of a second from Edwards/Garrod.

The rally as a whole was won by Cronin and Galvin by 18.6 seconds from Edwards/Garrod, with Ahlin/Eriksen another 61.8s down in third.

Rhys Yates and Andrew Roughead (Fiesta R5) and Hugh Hunter with local co-driver Rob Fagg (Fiesta R5) rounded off the top five ahead of National Rally winners Daniel Harper/Chris Campbell (BMW Mini).

The best local crew overall were Nigel Cannell and his 16-year-old daughter Kayleigh (Mitsubishi Evolution IX) who were seventh overall and second in the National.

Callum Devine and Keith Moriarty (Opel Adam) took the £30,000 Junior British Championship prize after overhauling leaders going into the Manx event, William Creighton/Liam Regan (Peugeot 208).

Fuller reports in Tuesday’s Isle of Man Examiner.

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