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Cronin sets sights on double triumph

It seems that Keith Cronin faces an easy task to retain the British rally championship crown as the series goes down to the wire in Yorkshire on Saturday.

The Ballylickey driver has only to finish in the top six if he is to retain the title for a second year. However, with the teams' championship at stake, he will have to try his utmost to help Pirelli TEG Sport retain the title.

As the last round of this year's series, the event carries 50pc bonus points, and it is expected that the rest of the field will sense a chance of victory as Cronin adopts a cautious approach to ensure he wins the title.

A retirement and two uncharacteristic crashes have forced his main rival, Gwyndaf Evans, out of contention for the drivers' title but he has a chance of winning the Teams' award for Mitsubishi. The Welshman will be joined by Alistair Fisher to help Mitsubishi win the Team award. Fisher will give the new clubman's specification EvoX its competition debut on Saturday.

Having tasted overall victory for the first time, Craig Breen will want to end his season on a high with another victory this weekend.

"Winning on the Ulster was fantastic but I want to keep the run going and win on the gravel surface of the Trackrod," said the Waterford star as he prepared for the final British round.

"We are down to the final BRC event and the Irish tarmac series draws to a close one week later, so another good performance is required there. Then my focus will switch to the Pirelli Global shootout so, as the season comes to a climax, I need to be on the top of my game," said Breen.

Jonny Greer starts with a disadvantage as he is one of only five drivers who has scored in all rounds to date and must drop his worst score after the Yorkshire round. It will harm his chances of winning the title but it will ensure a top-three spot in the series for the Carryduff youngster.

Eamonn Boland makes a welcome return to the sport -- his first since Sweden last February -- as the first of three British gravel events concludes with a drive in the British world championship round in November.

A monumental tussle is promised between Robert Barrable and Mark Donnelly as they square up for British Citroen C2R2 Cup honours. As they go into the final round, Barrable, the 23-year old Swords driver, has a two-point advantage on dropped scores over the Omagh teenager, but Barrable needs to finish ahead of Donnelly to be sure of taking the British title. With 30 points on the table for the winner in Yorkshire, a mighty battle is anticipated between the pair.

Barrable opted for British points in Ulster in the hope of clinching the UK crown there, thus allowing him to concentrate on winning the Irish title in Cork -- but he failed to score points when mechanical trouble forced his retirement while in the lead. He now faces the enormous task of beating Donnelly in Yorkshire on Saturday and aiming to secure the Irish title in Cork one week later.

FiestaSport Challenge champion Jonathan Cunningham gave up the opportunity of a factory-backed drive in a Fiesta R2 on the international event this weekend to pursue his ambition of being crowned BRC Challenge champion.

The Galway driver lies fifth in the series, just 15 points behind leader Callum Black, meaning one mistake by any of the five could decide the destination of the title.

p Derek Tohill became the first ever Irishman in the history of rallycross to become a European champion last Sunday. He was crowned European Rallycross champion (Division Two) after clinching his fourth win of the season in Sosnova, Czech Republic.

The line-up in the final featured one Irishman against four Norwegians and Czech star Roman Castoral. However, the 34-year-old Dubliner kept his nerve under severe pressure as he beat the outgoing champion, Norway's Knut Ove Barseth, to take the title.

Tohill survived some dubious tactics in the final after being sandwiched between Barseth and another car on the run to the first corner, but he emerged in second place behind Lars Oivind Enerberg until the last lap when the Norwegian was slowed by a puncture, which handed victory -- and the title -- to the Irishman.

p Melvyn Evans created history when he became the first overseas driver to win the Dunlop national championship in Co Clare last Sunday.

Several cross-channel drivers, including British asphalt champion Damian Cole, are looking to contest the Irish championship next year.


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