Round 1: Bulldog International Rally North Wales
Irishmen Keith Cronin & Greg Shinnors took an excellent first victory on the opening round of the 2009 MSA British Rally Championship, Bulldog International Rally North Wales on Saturday.
Cronin emerged victorious after an event-long battle with triple Champion Mark Higgins. Cronin took the initiative on the first stage, but Higgins pegged him back and by second service the Manxman held a nine second advantage. Higgins' struggle with transmission settings on the penultimate stage, though, enabled Cronin to take six seconds back and then on the final stage Higgins hit a pothole, forcing the front wheel back into the arch. Cronin pressed the advantage and took twelve seconds off his rival to finish nine seconds clear at the end of the 82 mile gravel event.
Stuart Jones and Andy Bull took third after Adam Gould/Seb Marshall and Andreas Sjölander/Håkan Jacobsson had held the position earlier. Sjölander retired with fuel pump failure while Gould battled back to fourth after breaking a rear suspension arm. Jones' third place was a surprise to the Welshman, having had a puncture early on. The car looked decidedly second hand at the finish too, rolling the car on a hairpin on stage three.
1 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 1:20:59.7
2 Mark Higgins/Bryan Thomas Subaru Impreza N11 1:21:08.7
3 Stuart Jones/Andy Bull Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 1:23:30.3
4 Adam Gould/Sebastian Marshall Subaru Impreza N14 1:24:09.9
5 David Bogie/Kevin Rae Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10 1:24:30.6
6 Dave Weston_Jnr/Neil Shanks Subaru Impreza N14 1:24:37.7
7 Alastair Fisher/Rory Kennedy Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 1:24:42.3
8 Jonathan Greer/Antony O'Conaill Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 1:26:06.9
1 Keith Cronin 20
2 Mark Higgins 18
3 Stuart Jones 16
4 Adam Gould 15
5 David Bogie 14
6 David Weston Jnr 13
7 Alastair Fisher 12
8 Jonathan Greer 11