After competing on some of the world’s toughest rallies in his rookie WRC 2 season, last week’s Wales Rally GB turned into something of a bittersweet experience for Chesterfield driver Rhys Yates.
Rhys and co-driver James Morgan switched from their usual RYR ŠKODA Fabia R5 to tackle Britain’s biggest motorsport event in a Hyundai i20 R5.
The plan made a lot of sense: the Llandudno-based event is one Rhys knows well, having competed there three times previously and testing new metal in familiar surroundings would offer valuable insight for next season’s programme.
Unfortunately one of the season’s most complicated rallies turned out to be just that for Rhys, with punctures and other issues costing valuable time.
“Before we go into the details of the event,” Rhys said. “I want to talk about what an absolute awesome rally this one is. Rally GB has to be one of the best events in the world.
“When you’re coming into these corners, completely sideways and looking out of the side window, it’s the most magical feeling. The conditions have been a challenge and the rally itself has been really hard work – but that’s what it’s all about when you come to Rally GB.
“And this one really has been a tough one for us. All year we’ve stuck to the plan, taken the experience and learned the rallies. And all the time we’ve had an eye on Rally GB. I know we came here with a different car, so it wasn’t going to be straightforward, but I’ve got to be honest and say I really don’t get a lot of luck on this event.
“We’ve had a few things, just some niggles here and there and they’ve made for a pretty complicated event. Don’t get me wrong, when the car’s been on song it’s been great and we’ve really enjoyed ourselves.
“Now we’ll go home, scrub ourselves down and start working on the next one.”
Despite his issues, Rhys still managed to deliver a top-10 result in another WRC 2 point-scoring drive.
The RYR team focus now shifts south to Spain for the Salou-based Rally de España (October 24-27).