The 2022 British Rally Championship moves to the Scottish Borders region this weekend for the second of its seven rounds, the Jim Clark Rally, based in the historic market town of Duns. For four-time champion, Keith Cronin, it marks a return to an event he won in 2012, on the way to his third BRC title. Similar to the opening round in Essex last month, the rally is an all-tarmac affair run on closed public roads. Two stages, one after dark, await the field on Friday evening, with a further seven to be tackled on Saturday.
“It’s hard to believe that was ten years ago”, recalls Cronin of his previous success on the Jim Clark. “The regulations were very different that time, we were all in two wheel drive cars, I had a Citroen DS3. The brake pedal broke on one stage, so we were lucky to make the finish at all. The pace is a lot hotter now with the four wheel drive Rally 2 machines”.
Having initially led in Essex, Cronin and his co-driver, fellow Killarney & District Motor Club member, Mikie Galvin, were later overhauled for the win by Osian Pryce and Noel O’Sullivan, and thus lie second in the BRC points. Cronin expects a strong battle again this weekend in Scotland, where the top four seeds are all in Volkswagen Polo GTI R5s. “Osian went very well the on the Rally Tendring & Clacton, he’ll be hard to beat again. Meirion Evans is joining the championship too, he hasn’t been far away from an overall win in Ireland recently. James Williams was close to Osian and myself last time out, and Ruairi Bell was quick too before he had problems. It’s a strong field and I’d say we’ll all be closely matched”.
The event is named after 1963 and ‘65 Formula One World Champion, Jim Clark, who grew up near Duns. The ultra-adaptable Clark also tried his hand at rallying, entering the 1966 RAC in a Lotus Cortina. He shocked the established stars of the era, taking three fastest stage times and running in the top ten, before an off resulted in retirement. Former Ladies World Rally Champion, Louise Aitken-Walker, is also a Duns native, as was the late Andrew Cowan, winner of two London-Sydney Marathons, and later manager of the Mitsubishi world rally team.
Cronin will have a new tyre supplier in Duns after the conclusion of his alliance with Hankook Tire. He expressed his gratitude to the firm for partnering with him in the BRC: “I want to thank Hankook Tire and the teams in Daejeon and Neu-Isenburg for all of their assistance and efforts over the past year and a half. I have very much enjoyed working with Hankook Tire on the development of its products, I hope that my contribution has assisted the company and that it will bear fruition for them”.
The British Rally Championship will provide live updates from the Jim Clark Rally on its facebook page, @brcrally
Cronin and Galvin’s British Rally Championship campaign is supported by M O’Brien Group of Companies, Keohane Seafoods, Cremin Coach & Mini Bus Hire, Inver Energy, Cronin’s Homevalue Hardware and Cronin’s Centra (Ballylickey, Leap and Union Hall). Their Volkswagen Polo R5 is prepared and run by Tom Gahan Motorsport.
2022 Jim Clark Rally – Timetable (First Car Due)
Friday, 27th May, 2022
Start Duns Square 19:00
Stage 1 Longformacus 1 19:21
Service Duns 20:19 – In
20:49 – Out
Stage 2 Longformacus 1 21:12
Control Duns Square 22:00
Saturday, 28th May, 2022
Re-Start Duns Square 10:00
Stage 3 Westruther 1 10:35
Stage 4 Scott’s View 1 11:12
Stage 5 Eccles 1 11:59
Service Duns 12:44 – In
13:24 – Out
Stage 6 Westruther 2 13:59
Stage 7 Scott’s View 2 14:36
Stage 8 Eccles 2 15:23
Stage 9 Eccles 3 16:54
Finish Duns Square 17:26
2022 2022 Jim Clark Rally – Top Ten Seeds
- Osian Pryce/Noel O’Sullivan, Volkswagen Polo GTI R5
- Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin, Volkswagen Polo GTI R5
- Meirion Evans/Jonathan Jackson, Volkswagen Polo GTI R5
- Jason Pritchard/Phil Clarke, Volkswagen Polo GTI R5
- Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton, Ford Focus
- James Williams/Dai Roberts, Hyundai i20 R5
- Garry Pearson/Dale Furniss, Ford Fiesta Rally 2
- Ruairi Bell/Max Freeman, Skoda Fabia R5
- Dale Robertson/Stuart Loudon, Ford Fiesta R5
- Michael Binnie/Claire Mole, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9
Photo: Jakob Ebrey Motorsport Photography