Keith Cronin has more than an historic third MSA British Rally Championship title to celebrate this season, the Irishman also takes the RAVENOL OILS BRC Privateers Cup award, the second time he has been top privateer in four years.
The award, which includes £2,000 of product sponsorship for 2013, is for competitors who are not included in one of this season’s six official teams and was reintroduced in 2008 after a ten year break, before being sponsored by RAVENOL OILS for the first time this year.
Cronin begun the season at the wheel of a Renault Twingo, initially as a one-off promotion, but despite retiring, he was bitten by the bug and made strenuous efforts to find a top flight drive for the rest of the season.
Although run by the vastly experienced Autosport Technology team from round two, he and Jarkko Nikara opted not to register as official team-mates, instead competing directly against one-another for outright victories – no team orders here!
However it was Northern Irishman Mark Donnelly who was top scoring privateer on Rallye Sunseeker back in February, tying for the lead with Nikara after nine stages, the Finn’s engine eventually crying enough.
Cronin took his first Privateers win on Rally North Wales, narrowly missing out on overall event victory on his first outing in his Citroën DS3. But north of the border proved a hotbed of talent again in 2012; County Antrim driver Desi Henry’s second place in Bournemouth, coupled with fourth placed privateer in Wales elevated him to the top of the points table, four points ahead of Peter Taylor.
By the time of the Pirelli Rally, Cronin’s second victory had moved him within striking distance of Taylor and Henry, Nikara and Donnelly tied for fourth with a non-finish apiece to contend with.
On the asphalt of round four, the Jim Clark Rally, the Irish locked out the top three on the Privateers podium, Cronin followed by an improving Jonny Greer and a second bronze finish for Mark Donnelly. The result was enough to put Cronin on top, Henry dropping to second in the tables after an off cost him several places.
Now fully into his stride, it was left to Cronin to take the spoils on the final two rounds, Carryduff’s Jonny Greer coming closest to the West Cork man, with Henry taking third despite another off that ended his assault on home asphalt.
The 2012 RAVENOL OILS BRC Privateers Cup trophy will be presented to Keith Cronin at the MSA British Rally Championship’s end of season awards ceremony on November 17th.
Ahead of the prestigious awards evening RAVENOL will be at the Silverstone MotorsportUK event at Silverstone Race Circuit on Saturday and Sunday 3 – 4 November where the RAVENOL OILS supported Spirit of Motorsport UK award winner will be announced.