Four-time British Rally Champion, Keith Cronin, is set to return to the series this year, with support from Hankook Tire. The West Cork driver has signed a contract with the premium tyre maker to contest the four gravel rounds of the 2021 BRC, beginning with the Nicky Grist Rally in Wales on Saturday, plus the season-closing tarmac surface Ulster Rally in November.
Cronin is to pilot a Ford Fiesta Rally 2 throughout the year, which will be run by NPL Rally Hire and Preparation, and his co-driver will again be Mikie Galvin, who guided him to his most recent BRC title in 2017. Additional support for the BRC season comes from M. O’Brien Group of Companies, Rentokil Initial, Cremin Coaches, Cronin’s Centra, Cronin’s Homevalue and M-Sport.
“The car will start in full Hankook livery on our excellent latest generation rally tyres” says Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook Motorsport Director Europe. “I know what the driver and his co-driver are capable of, it’s a highly competitive team and therefore I am particularly pleased that they will start the British Rally Championship with Hankook support. The level of driving is very high and we are competing in a very strong series”.
Hankook can look back on a 80-year history and is now the sixth largest tyre manufacturer in the world. Hankook is currently the exclusive tyres supplier for the TCR Europe, W Series and British Formula 4 and is one of the top names in international motorsport impressing drivers, teams, experts and fans for years with the quality of its high-end Ventus Race tyre and the optimal support provided at racetracks all over the world.
Last weekend’s non-championship M-Sport Rally in Cumbria provided the first opportunity to test the latest Hankook competition tyres in advance of the BRC campaign, and it saw Cronin and Galvin finish third overall on what was their first competitive outing in three years. Cronin declared himself satisfied with the result after the conclusion of the event. “It’s been an interesting exercise, it was great to test in a full blown rally against great opposition. I was happy enough with our speed over the weekend without taking risks, and we are confident of increased speed with a bit more seat time. We gathered a lot of data on the latest Hankook tyres, they performed very well, and I am looking forward to the Nicky Grist now, there is a very competitive entry.” The Hankook Fiesta crew are seeded at number eight for Saturday’s rally.