Cronin wins British Rally Championship to end 35-year wait

Irish pair, Keith Cronin (Cork) and his Limerick co-driver, Greg Shinnors (Mitsubishi) have won the British Rally Championship triumphing on the final round, the International Rally Yorkshire.

Cronin won the event while his championship rival, Mark Higgins went off the road on the final stage.

Cronin is the first Irish driver to win the series since Billy Coleman in 1974.

He set the pace on this morning's opening stage where he was 1.4 seconds ahead of the Mitsubishi of Gwyndaf Evans with Wicklow's Daniel Barry (Mitsubishi) third quickest through the 13.94 mile stage.

Cronin's British Championship rival Mark Higgins, in his N15 Subaru, was down in sixth - 13.2 seconds adrift of the Cork driver.

Cronin was also quickset on the second stage and then eased off a little on stages three and four as Evans moved ahead. Barry retired on Stage 2 with suspension trouble.

At the service halt in Pickering, Cronin held second place - 7.4 seconds behind Evans, but significantly, 17.5 seconds ahead of championship rival Higgins, who admitted his Subaru was difficult to handle.

The Welsh based British ace subsequently changed some of the suspension while Cronin's service crew ensured his Mitsubishi was performing to its full capability.

Following the spectator stage at the Pickering Showgrounds where there was little between the top drivers, Cronin reclaimed the lead on S.S. 6 as Evans lost almost four minutes and slippped to 11th when his Mitsubishi collected a puncture.

Cronin was 25.9 seconds ahead of Stuart Jones (Mitsubishi) with Higgins 1.8 seconds further adrift.

The West Cork ace and his co-driver Shinnors went on to win the event and end a 35-year drought.

Fellow Irish drivers Jonny Greer and Alastair Fisher, in Mitsubishis, were third and sixth respectively.

1. K. Cronin (Mitsubishi) 1h. 07m. 30.9s

2. S. Jones (Mitsubishi) +n 26.9s.

3. J. Greer (Mitsubishi) +1m. 18.1s.

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