25 April 2010
Rally UK » Cronin heartbreak hands Pirelli to Evans
Last-stage retirement for Keith Cronin confirms Gwyndaf Evans as winner of Pirelli International Rally.
The sting in the tail of the Pirelli International Rally promoted Gwyndaf Evans and Chris Patterson to the top step of the podium in their JRM-run Mitsubishi Evo X, Evans' first win on the event since 1998 when he was victorious in a two wheel drive Ibiza.
The final stage of the second round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship proved disastrous for the reigning champions Keith Cronin and Barry McNulty, who stopped 200 yards from the finish boards, having led the event from the first stage on Friday. The Pirelli TEG Sport car ground to a halt as a result of damage to the wiring loom caused by a flailing puncture.
Craig Breen and Gareth Roberts also dropped time in the final stage with a puncture on their Fiesta S2000, having taken a string of fastest stage times and closed to within 4.7secs of Evans. The Irishman dropped over two-and-a-half minutes, but maintained a podium place, albeit third behind an astonished Jonny Greer and Dai Roberts.
Greer's event has been pretty uneventful apart from losing a tooth from fifth gear on Friday night, proving that a consistent and tidy approach pays dividends in the end. With the gearbox replaced, the young Northern Irish driver's approach not only gave him his best ever BRC result, but also puts him at the top of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship - and, as an added bonus, also heads the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK.
An excellent fourth place by Daniel Siguroarson and sister Asta Siguroardottir means that JR Motorsports leapfrog both Pirelli TEG Sport and Ramsport to lead the Dulux Trade MSA British Teams' Rally Championship
Jarkko Nikara and Jarno Ottman convincingly won the R2 class in their flying Twingo, despite having clutch problems for most of the rally, in doing so scoring maximum Junior points ahead of Elfyn Evans. But the results also keeps the young Welshman in front of the chase for the MSA Junior award.
Mikko Pajunen and Mikko Lukka not only won the Swift Sport Cup and Rally 1 on the event, but their stunning pace in the diminutive Suzuki put them in eleventh place and in the spotlight for the prestigious Pirelli Star Driver yellow jersey.
They were both delighted and surprised to take the nomination for the end of season shoot-out for a chance at a fully-funded drive in the 2011 Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship.
In a mirror of the overall Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, Greer and Roberts lead the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge from the Icelandic brother and sister partnership of Siguroarson and Siguroardottir. Third in the series, and fifth overall on the rally, were Owen Murphy and James O'Brien, who had a terrible Friday night stuck in other drivers' dust.
Mark Donnelly and Paddy Robinson's run of wins in the Citroën Racing Trophy was ended by two punctures, leaving a scrap between Robert Barrable/Damien Connolly and Richard Sykes/Simon Taylor. Unfortunately, Sykes crashed out, leaving Barrable to take his first victory in the series.
Elfyn Evans added a win in the Fiesta SportTrophy to extend his lead in the series and ensure a father-and-son victory-fest. Evans and co-driver Andrew Edwards were one of only two Fiestas to finish the event, but Peter Taylor was far enough behind to make Evans' rally quite lonely.
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