Cronin Aiming To Match McRae with Fifth British Title!
The 2022 British Rally Championship reconvenes in Wales this weekend for round five of the series, Rali Bae Ceredigion, which will be fought out on Saturday evening and throughout Sunday over twelve closed road tarmac stages around the event’s Aberystwyth base. Ballylickey’s Keith Cronin continues his quest to secure a fifth British title, to match the long-standing record held by Jimmy McRae, and is seeded at No. 2 in his Volkswagen Polo GTi, with his Killarney co-driver Mikie Galvin alongside. With two wins so far this year, they lead the BRC standings by eighteen points from another VW Polo crew, Osian Pryce and Noel O’Sullivan. Pryce won the Ceredigion Rally on the previous occasion it ran in 2019, and is the top seed. He carries the host nation’s hopes and the tag of favourite for the weekend.
The field is joined on this occasion by former World Championship event winner, Hayden Paddon, who starts at 3 in a Hyundai i20 R5. While the Kiwi driver is not registered for BRC points, his pace relative to the regulars will be the source of much interest, but with points the priority, they will be careful to avoid becoming embroiled in a battle for the lead with him should he push to the front.
Rali Ceredigion also sees the return to the BRC of Irish Tarmac Championship runners-up, Meirion Evans and Jonathan Jackson, and the Welsh crew can be expected to be in top form following a win on the recent Ulster Rally.
From his West Cork base, Cronin expressed an eagerness to sample the extended route of Rali Bae Ceredigion: “I’m looking forward to getting back onto a longer event, and this rally has more mileage than some of the other BRC rounds. There’s more room for manoeuvre, if you’ve a half-spin or some other minor delay it doesn’t necessarily mean that any chance of a result is gone out the window, you might have a chance to recover the time. It’s also on tarmac, which I would traditionally have been stronger on than gravel, although the difference has levelled off a bit in recent years because we haven’t done that much tarmac rallying. The format is similar to the Jim Clark Rally in ways, and that went well for us, I’m hoping the long stage on Saturday evening will suit again, it’ll be just getting dark. The first stage of the Sunday loops is nearly seventeen miles, there’s a lot of time to be won and lost there as well”.
Cronin also recognised the difficulty in containing Pryce in Wales, and is tempering his expectations as a result: “My hope would be to finish ahead of Osian, but that may be too big an ask on his home turf”, he noted. “I know that the rally is not exactly on his doorstep, but you could say it’s in the next parish. It does make a difference, a tenth here, a tenth there, it all adds up. I’ll be satisfied if I can minimise the amount of points he pulls back in the standings”.
Rali Bae Ceredigion gets underway on Saturday evening with two runs over a short half mile spectator stage on Aberystwyth’s promenade. Two further stages follow before the overnight halt. Sunday sees eight further stages tackled (two loops of four tests), before the victory celebrations take place back in Aberystwyth just after 4pm.
Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin are supported in the British Rally Championship by M O’Brien Group of Companies, Keohane Seafoods, Inver Energy, Cremin Coaches, Cronin’s Homevalue Hardware, Cronin’s Centra (Ballylickey, Leap and Union Hall) and Pirelli Tyres.
2022 Rali Bae Ceredigion – FCD Timetable
Saturday, 3rd September
Start Ceredigion County Council Offices, Aberystwyth 18:45
SS1 Aberystwyth 1 19:03
SS2 Aberystwyth 2 19:21
Regroup Aberystwyth Promenade 19:27
SS3 Glan yr Afon 20:10
SS4 Devil’s Bridge 20:25
Service Ceredigion County Council Offices, Aberystwyth 21:18 – In
22:03 – Out
Parc Fermé 22:13
Sunday 4th September, 2022
Service Ceredigion County Council Offices, Aberystwyth 08:30 – In
08:45 – Out
SS5 Llanfiangel 1 09:03
Regroup Devil’s Bridge 09:40
SS6 Nant y Moch 1 10:08
SS7 Bont Goch 1 10:46
SS8 Pendam 1 11:04
Regroup Ceredigion County Council Offices, Aberystwyth 11:44
Service Ceredigion County Council Offices, Aberystwyth 12:04 – In
12:49 – Out
SS9 Llanfiangel 2 13:07
Regroup Devil’s Bridge 13:44
SS10 Nant y Moch 2 14:12
SS11 Bont Goch 2 14:50
SS12 Pendam 2 15:08
Finish Aberystwyth Promenade 16:08
2022 Rali Bae Ceredigion – Top Ten Seeds
No. Driver/Co-Driver Car
- Osian Pryce/Noel O’Sullivan Volkswagen Polo GTI R5
- Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin Volkswagen Polo GTI R5
- Hayden Paddon/Jared Hudson Hyundai i20 R5
- Meirion Evans/Jonathan Jackson Volkswagen Polo GTi R5
- James Williams/Dai Roberts Hyundai i20 R5
- Ruairi Bell/Max Freeman Skoda Fabia R5
- Jason Tauber Pritchard/Phil Clarke Volkswagen Polo GTi R5
- Peter Taylor/Jack Morton Ford Focus WRC
- Elliot Payne/Patrick Walsh Ford Fiesta Rally 2
- Garry Pearson/Dale Furniss Ford Fiesta Rally 2
2022 British Rally Championship Points
Drivers: Keith Cronin, 86; Osian Pryce, 68; James Williams, 45; Jason Pritchard, 31; Garry Pearson, 30; Eamonn Kelly, 25.
Co-Drivers: Mikie Galvin, 86; Noel O’Sullivan, 68; Dai Roberts, 45; Phil Clarke, 31; Dale Furniss, 27; Conor Mohan, 24.
Photo: Jakob Ebrey Motorsport Photography.