Chesterfield’s Rhys Yates returns to the World Rally Championship in Wales after securing a solid Rally Spain result.
Progressive British Rally driver Rhys Yates will take on his second FIA World Rally Championship event this month as he tackles next weeks Dayinsure Wales Rally GB (26-29 October) and is bidding for a top WRC2 result.
Just weeks after overcoming steering failure to finish the tough Rally RACC Catalunya – Rally De Espana in 34th overall, Yates and co-driver Alex Lee will tackle the penultimate round of the WRC in their Brettex Ford Fiesta R5. Yates will be looking to better his European result and be top Brit home in the closely fought WRC2 category for R5 machinery.
The 24-year-old from Chesterfield has enjoyed a successful year in the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, finishing the season in fourth spot against many more experienced competitors.
In only his second full season in the series, Yates narrowly missed out on a podium position and his reward for the result was a trip to Rally Spain, finishing off the season with Britian’s round of the WRC.
Yates was buoyed by a string of decent stage times on the mixed-surface Rally Spain and he believes that will put him in good stead for Rally GB.
“It was our very first overseas WRC event and we picked one of the toughest on the calendar to contest,” said Yates.
“But I felt really comfortable in the car all weekend long and we were putting in stage times well inside the top ten of the category for much of the rally. Look at most of those names ahead of us on the leader board there and they have been doing the WRC all season and really at the top of their game so I was happy enough to walk right in and be as quick as we were. If we hadn’t retired on day two, I think we could have had a good result“.
Having secured another WRC2 entry, Yates will now look to gather all his experiences from the past 12 months to secure a worthy outcome in Wales this week. He contested the WRC qualifier last year so has the benefit of an insight as to what the event has in store.
“I was really still learning the car last year when I did (Wales Rally) GB so it was a tricky outing but I’ll have the advantage of competing on stages that I know this time around. I’m looking forward to seeing where that puts us. I`m still learning now, all the time in fact but the confidence levels are a lot better now. I’d like to think we can surprise a few people”.
The Dayinsure Wales Rally GB is the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship and is based at the Toyota plant in Deeside on the Wales border. After two days of pre-event reconnaissance on Tuesday 24th October and Wednesday 25th, Thursday 26th hosts’ shakedown and the opening Super Special Stage at Tir Prince.
Friday 27th takes crews into Mid Wales whilst Saturday 28th houses the longest day of the event with evening stages ensuring the leg finishes around 11pm. Sunday 29th rounds off the event with just four stages before the ceremonial finish celebrations in Llandudno from around 13.30 that day.
Yates is backed in 2017 by Michelin, Protyre, Kick Motorsport, Simpson, Zenith Racing, Prestone, Draper Tools, Jordan Road Surfacing and NGK Spark Plugs.
He also receives grateful support from a number of local businesses including H&F PES, Maun Motors, MFA, Calow Lane MOT Centre, The Mobility Shop, Glazebrook Transport, Woodleigh Motor Sales, Juice Motorsport and Clear Edge Filtration Group.
Image: Chicane Media – James Ward