Round 2 - Pirelli International Rally, 17-18 April
The second round of the MSA British Rally Championships served up another titanic fight between Keith Cronin/Gregg Shinnors and Mark Higgins/Bryan Thomas. On the penultimate stage, Cronin took 7.8 seconds off Higgins' 10.2 second lead at the final service, leaving a nail biting final stage in prospect. By the time the crews had completed the 8.7 mile Valley stage, the 22 year-old Irish driver had snatched 4.4 seconds from Pirelli TEG Sport driver Higgins, giving a winning margin of just two seconds.
After Phillip and Simon Morrow's excellent run ended stuck in a Kielder ditch, Team JRM Lico's David Bogie/Kevin Rae took an excellent third place in their nearly new Mitsubishi Evo 10, having only driven their 2008 Evo Challenge prize once before. Nearly a minute and a half back from the leading pair, the young Scot headed Northern Ireland's Alastair Fisher by a mere 1.8 seconds. The newcomer to four wheel drive had multiple BRC Champion Rory Kennedy alongside, the pair incredibly close to taking third overall, having taken eighteen seconds off Bogie in the final test.
Defending champions Guy Wilks and Phil Pugh retired from the rally on SS8, their new Proton totally destroyed by fire.
1 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors IRL/IRL Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 1:10:17.7
2 Mark Higgins/Bryan Thomas GB/GB Subaru Impreza N11 +0:00:02.0
3 David Bogie/Kevin Rae GB/GB Mitsubishi EVO 10 +0:01:29.0
4 Alastair Fisher/Rory Kennedy GB/GB Mitsubushi EVO 9 +0:01:30.8
5 Jonathan Greer/Antony O'Conaill GB/GB Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 +0:01:43.0
6 David Weston Jnr/Dave Robson GB/GB Subaru Impreza N14 +0:02:02.8