Rhys Yates proved he is one of the most talented rally drivers in Europe by leading last weekend’s Rally Van Wervik (8/9 June) from start to finish, to become the first British driver to win the Belgian event in its 42-year history.
The Chesterfield ace fired his Brettex Skoda Fabia R5 into the lead of the rally on the opening stage and was never headed to win four of the event’s 12 stages, taking his biggest rally victory to date and in the process, maximum points in the Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship.
Yates and co-driver Elliott Edmondson headed to the Belgian National qualifier in a bid to gain additional experience of the closed public roads in the region as a warm-up ahead of the next round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, the Ypres Rally. Just a few weeks ago, Yates took seventh overall in his competitive debut at the Antibes Côte d’Azur Rally in France and was confident of a solid result on the super-fast Belgian closed roads.
The CA1 Sport run Skoda had spent much of the season in gravel trim after a trip to the Azores as well as the opening round of the BRC which took place on a loose surface. With the next handful of rounds of both the BRC and FIA European Rally Championship taking place on tar, Yates was eager to ensure he had the measure of the new-for-2018 Fabia on a sealed surface.
“I really didn’t expect to come away with the rally win but I’m delighted with this result, especially if you look at the experience of the locals over here,” said an elated Yates at the finish.
“I said before the rally that I wasn’t going to get involved in battles for results but when we emerged from the opening stage with the rally lead I really couldn’t believe it. Just look at that entry list; there are some very quick guys here this weekend”.
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Yates is sponsored by Brettex, Michelin Motorsport, Jordan Road Surfacing, Draper Tools, Rallynuts, Rainworth Skoda, Nicky Grist Motorsport, H&F Furniture, NGK Spark Plugs and Protyre.