Tight fit paves way to Galway Rally success

An unusual head-scratcher had eventual Galway International Rally winners Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin scrambling for help on the eve of the season-opening event.

Kerry-based co-driver, Galvin, shared the story on Krunching Gears’ latest podcast.

“The Fiesta only arrived this week [the week before the rally],” began Galvin, “and it was all very new.

“He [Cronin] had one test and I hadn’t sat in the car until Parc Ferme on Saturday morning.

“We had a hiccup on Friday night when my seat didn’t actually fit. The seat must have been custom for somebody else but I couldn’t actually fit into the car.

“Thanks to David Moynihan at EARS, luckily he had a seat that we were able to put into it.”

Galvin revealed that Cronin had considered a number of Rally2 cars, including a Citroen, for his 2024 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship campaign.

The last-minute decisions didn’t show over the two-day rally, however, as Cronin and Galvin took a start-to-finish victory with seven stage wins.

“There are always a few nerves [at the start of an event] but that is healthy too,” Galvin told Krunching Gears. “We were looking forward to it.

“We had a good recce, we put a lot of work into the pacenotes, and we were excited to go.

“Keith knew that the car was good, that the tyres were good, and the whole package seemed to be firing.

“It was a flawless weekend, everything just clicked. It becomes easier than when there is always something happening. This weekend there wasn’t that something [going wrong] and here we are.”

Four-time British Rally Champion Cronin said before the rally that he would be delighted with a podium finish on his first Galway appearance since 2016.

Speaking to Rally Insight before Galway’s final loop of stages, the 37-year-old explained how he found himself in a strong position for success on Irish Tarmac’s opener.

“We clicked with the car quite early and everything went well,” said Cronin. “Our tyre choices worked well, we had to find a balance or an average between the tyres [that works best across all the conditions].

“I have felt steady all day, I don’t feel like we were on the ragged edge, we had a good consistent rhythm.

“The car, even in the test, just worked straightaway and we seemed to click with it. The set-up, especially in the wet, has been brilliant and the car has done exactly what I want it to do.

“Now, if it is dry we might have to work on the set-up a bit more.”

The West Cork Rally is the next round of the 2024 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. Based in Clonakilty, the three-day event takes place on 15-17 March.

Photos by D Harrigan Images

Source link