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The Cork and Kerry duo of Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin brought their Volkswagen Polo GTi to second place on the Jim Clark Rally, round two of the British Rally Championship, at the weekend.  The rally, held in the Scottish Borders in the area around Duns, was won by the World Championship crew of Adrien Fourmaux and Alexandre Coria in the works M-Sport Ford Fiesta.  They had nineteen seconds to spare on stage times over their Irish rivals in the final classification.  The Frenchmen laid the foundations for their victory on Friday evening, being fast out of the blocks and setting a tremendous pace on both of the event’s opening two tests, which consisted of two runs over the Longformacus stage, the second of which took place after nightfall.

Cronin and Galvin were fastest of the BRC runners on five of Saturday’s six stages, but the gap to the leaders proved unsurmountable.  Speaking at the finish, Cronin admitted that the result was in line with his expectations:  “That was the best we could have hoped for starting the rally.  I was kind of expecting that Adrien would get us all by a lot at the start, and he did”.  While Cronin’s only outing in the Polo since the previous BRC round during March had been a short test in the days leading up to the Jim Clark, Fourmaux had contested World Championship events in Mexico, Croatia and Portugal in the intervening period.  “It’s difficult to get myself up to the pace I need to be at when you’re not sitting in the car that often”, noted Cronin, who was considerably more comfortable with his pace on Day 2.  “Today definitely went better.  It doesn’t feel any faster, I think it’s just I’m back in the seat, it just feels easier.  As I said at the start, you won’t beat Adrien over the year, every rally he’ll start like this, you’re going to be on the back foot before you can get up the pace.  We’ll see how the year goes”.

The British Championship’s next round is an ‘away’ event, the famous Ieper Rally in Belgium, and the host town is located just thirty minutes from Fourmaux’s home.  “We’ll take the year rally by rally, I’m not sure if we’ll go to Ieper yet”, said Cronin.  “It’s a long way to travel for us, we might wait for the one after”.    After Ieper, there are two more closed road tarmac events on the calendar, the Ulster Rally and Rali Ceredigion, before the series moves to the forests for its final two rounds, Trackrod Rally Yorkshire and the Cambrian Rally in Wales, which counts for double points.

Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton (Polo) finished third overall on the Jim Clark, while Callum Black and Jack Morton were the third placed BRC registered runners to finish, despite encountering pop-off valve issues with their Fiesta throughout the rally.

Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin’s British Rally Championship campaign is supported by Molson Group, M O’Brien Group of Companies, Michelin Tyres, Keohane Seafoods, Cremin Coach & Mini Bus Hire, Inver Energy, Cronin’s Homevalue Hardware, Cronin’s Centra (Ballylickey, Leap and Union Hall) and Westlink Service Station.  Their Volkswagen Polo R5 is prepared and run by Tom Gahan Motorsport.

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