Cronin regains Kerry Rally crown

Cork driver Keith Cronin (Mitsubishi), partnered by David Power, secured back-to-back victories in the Banna Hotel Kerry Mini Stage Rally today.

Cork driver Keith Cronin (Mitsubishi), partnered by David Power, secured back-to-back victories in the Banna Hotel Kerry Mini Stage Rally today.

At the conclusion of the four-stage rally, that was the final round of the Top Part West Coast Rally Championship, they finished 21 seconds in front of the Mitsubishi of Thomas Fitzmaurice/Fionn Foley (Mitsubishi).

Stuart Darcy/Diarmuid Falvey (Subaru) were a further 15 seconds adrift in third place.

Ninth-placed Ed Synan (Escort) did enough to secure the West Coast series after pre-event leader Alan Ring (Mitsubishi) lost more than nine minutes on the final stage and was finally classified 98th overall.

Local ace Fitzmaurice led West Cork driver and Billy Coleman Award winner Cronin by a single second after the opening stage.

However, as Cronin led at the Tralee service halt, the margin between the top duo was just two seconds.

Darcy and O'Halloran were next in classification with Ring, untroubled in fifth and well on course to take the Top Part series.

The pre-event championship leader was more than a minute clear of Synan, his only rival for the title.

Cronin strengthened his lead on the third test where he set the fastest time.

He also set the pace on the final stage to take a well-merited victory in very wet conditions.

Behind the top three of Cronin, Fitzmaurice and Darcy, Anthony O'Halloran (Mitsubishi) finished fourth overall.

Mike Quinn in a Ford Escort won the two-wheel drive award and finished fifth overall.

Elsewhere, the top 10 was completed by Sean Flanagan (Subaru), Kevin O'Donoghue (Escort), Brian O'Mahony (Subaru), Ed Synan (Escort) and Sean O'Donovan (Subaru).

1. K. Cronin/D. Power (Mitsubishi) 34m. 57s.

2. T. Fitzmaurice/F. Foley (Mitsubishi) 35m. 18s.

3. S. Darcy/D. Falvey (Subaru) 35m.33s.

4. A. O'Halloran/C. McEnery (Mitsubishi) 35m. 39s.

5. M. Quinn/S. Enright (Escort) 36m. 53s.

6. S. Flanagan/B. Duggan (Subaru) 37m. 01s.

7. K. O'Donoghue/J. O'Leary (Escort) 37m. 12s.

8. B. O'Mahony/J. Higgins (Subaru) 37m. 20s.

9. E. Synan/D. O'Connell (Escort) 37m. 43s.

10. S. O'Donovan/H. Atkinson (Subaru) 38m. 01s.

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