Irishman Keith Cronin heads into today’s closing five stages of the Jim Clark International Rally with a 59.9-second lead after dominating proceedings in the Borders. The 27-year-old displayed all the ability which took him to the British Rally Championship in 2009 and 2010, as he mastered the blindingly fast country lanes.
“It’s great to be back pushing for rally wins and championships,” Cronin, who won the previous round, the Pirelli International, admitted after returning to the overnight halt in Kelso. “Getting used to a two-wheel-drive car again has taken a bit of time, but now we’re right back on the pace.” Cronin was fastest through six of yesterday’s eight stages in his Citroen DS3, though he dropped 5.5s on stage seven when his brake pedal broke.
The Irishman’s nearest challenger is Tom Cave. The youngster, driving another Citroen DS3, also took a couple of stage wins. Northern Ireland’s Jonny Greer made it a clean sweep for Citroen at the end of the first leg, albeit two minutes adrift of Cave. Current British Rally Championship leader Elfyn Evans is fifth.
But the Jim Clark, one of the quickest rallies on the calendar, claimed some scalps. Lancashire’s Arron Newby and co-driver Martin Taylor rolled their Skoda Fabia at Edrom, but fortunately were unhurt.