The 2021 British Rally Championship will draw to a close on Saturday, with the final round, the Ulster Rally, to be decided over nine stages in the Newry and Banbridge areas. The event will be the first all-tarmac rally of the year for the Hankook Tire crew of Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin, who will be aiming to end the season on a positive note in their NPL Rally Hire-tended Ford Fiesta.
Buoyed by setting fastest time on the last stage of the previous round in Wales, Cronin is looking forward to the return to tarmac, his season so far having been gravel-focused. “We didn’t do the opening round at Oulton Park because of the Covid quarantine restrictions at the time, and the Mull Rally wasn’t on our schedule either, so the Ulster will be our only full tarmac event for 2021,” said Cronin. “The last stage of the Cambrian was tarmac, but that was only 5 kilometres, and it was on gravel tyres. This is the ‘real thing’, and it’s the nearest we have to a home rally this year.”
The Ulster Rally follows the three stages, three times format regularly used in Ireland, with Service after each of the first two loops. “The route is largely unchanged from the most recent running of the event in 2019, so anyone who did that rally will have an advantage, the last time we were there was in 2017,” Cronin noted. “It’s a very competitive top ten, I expect the pace to be tremendous from the start.”
The destination of the 2021 British Rally Championship will be decided on the Ulster between Welshmen, Osian Pryce and Matt Edwards. Pryce, BRC runner-up in 2013 and 2014, holds an eight point advantage heading to Northern Ireland, and Edwards must take maximum points if he is to secure a third title.
The Ulster Rally route will total 150 kilometres/93 miles, over the three loops of the McGaffin’s Corner, Bronte Homeland and Shinn Bridge tests. Service will be at the Modern Tyres facility in Newry, with the Finish Ramp also located there.
In addition to the primary support of Hankook Tire, Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin are also backed by M. O’Brien Group of Companies, Rentokil Initial, Cremin Coaches, Cronin’s Centra, Cronin’s Homevalue and M-Sport.
2021 Modern Tyres Ulster Rally – Timetable (First Car Due)
Saturday, 20th November, 2021
Stage 1 McGaffin’s Corner 1 08:40
Stage 2 Bronte Homeland 1 09:36
Stage 3 Shinn Bridge 1 10:08
Service Newry 10:37
Stage 4 McGaffin’s Corner 1 11:32
Stage 5 Bronte Homeland 2 12:28
Stage 6 Shinn Bridge 2 13:00
Service Newry 13:29
Stage 7 McGaffin’s Corner 3 15:24
Stage 8 Bronte Homeland 3 16:20
Stage 9 Shinn Bridge 3 16:52
Finish Newry 17:30
2021 Modern Tyres Ulster Rally – Top Ten Seeds
- Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod, Volkswagen Polo GTI R5
- Osian Pryce/Noel O’Sullivan, Volkswagen Polo GTI R5
- Callum Devine/Brian Hoy, Ford Fiesta Rally 2
- Sam Moffett/Keith Moriarty, Ford Fiesta R5
- Josh Moffett/Andy Hayes, Hyundai i20 R5
- Jonathan Greer/Kirsty Riddick, Citroen C3 R5
- Garry Jennings/Rory Kennedy, Ford Fiesta R5
- Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin, Ford Fiesta Rally 2
- Cathan McCourt/Liam Moynihan, Ford Fiesta Rally 2
- James Wilson/Arthur Kierans, Hyundai i20 R5