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RHYS YATES


2017 MSA British Rally Championship
1 Border Counties Rally 17 - 18 Mar
2 Pirelli International Rally 29 - 30 Apr
3 RSAC Scottish Rally 19 - 20 May
4 Kenotek Ypres Rally 23 - 24 Jun
5 Nicky Grist Stages 8 - 9 Jul
6 Ulster Rally 18 - 19 Aug
7 Rally Isle of Man 14 - 16 Sep

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 9th July 2017

Yates proves pace with first BRC podium

British Rally Championship contender Rhys Yates takes third overall and best ever result at last weekend’s Nicky Grist Stages.

In only his second season in the series, Chesterfield rally driver Rhys Yates scored his first ever Prestone MSA British Rally Championship podium with third overall at last weekend’s Nicky Grist Stages in Wales (8th/9th July).

Competing against some of the best rally drivers in the business, Yates and co-driver Alex Lee battled over two gruelling days of flat-out driving across the forests and closed roads of Epynt Military Ranges in the heart of Wales.

Piloting his Brettex Ford Fiesta R5, Yates put in a mature drive over the closing stages of the event to take his first rostrum in the series and further strengthen his place in the championship. His result means he now lies fifth overall and within sight of a top-three championship position over the closing stages of the season.

Just a fortnight after securing fifth BRC contender home at the Ypres Rally in Belgium, Yates was eager to take his form to Wales at the weekend. The event provided one of the toughest challenges of the season with the opening leg consisting of 44 miles of gravel tests in the forests of Halfway and Crychan, followed by over 70 miles of military asphalt roads on day two.

Yates stamped his intentions on the time sheets from the off, setting fourth fastest time over the opening Monument test and as he acclimatised back to the gravel, Yates found a comfortable pace over the super-fast stages. With the only issues being a spurious warning light and low hanging dust which hampered all the leading crews, Yates would take no risks to end the leg in a solid sixth spot.

Historically, Yates has always shown a good turn of pace on asphalt and the second day of the event would offer him the chance to shine. However, the Epynt ranges have a worldwide reputation for biting back, with many top drivers getting caught out by the blind crests and undulating roads.

The opening stage of the day would be the longest at over 10 miles and Yates made an impact from the off, making up one place to fifth. As the leaders fell by the wayside Yates found himself in third spot and as the stages progressed, so did his confidence. He pushed the Michelin-shod Fiesta to several top four stage times during the morning’s stages

The gap to fourth was a slender one however and he would need to be at the top of his game to stay ahead of the more experienced crews behind him. As the stages passed by Yates held his ground and despite the pressure, pushed the Brettex Fiesta to its limit to cross the finish line of the final test in an impressive third overall, by almost four seconds.

A jubilant Yates and co-driver Lee returned to the Builth Wells ceremonial finish to spray the champagne in front of the waiting crowds.

“It’s been a fantastic battle all rally long with some of the best guys in Europe, so to come away with my first ever podium result in a tough event like this is such a buzz,” says Yates. “It feels like a win to me”.

“You know, when you think I started the season we were looking at how many minutes away we were from some of these guys and now it’s down to seconds and tenths of a second, it shows how my pace has progressed this year. We set some great times and it gives us a nice little confidence boost for the next rounds. All credit to the team for a faultless car and of course Alex who jumped right in this weekend. It’s been a perfect event”.

With a break of over five weeks, the Championship returns in August for the Ulster Rally in Northern Ireland where the series continues on asphalt for the final two rounds.

Yates is backed in 2017 by Michelin, Protyre, Kick Motorsport, Simpson, Zenith Racing, Prestone, Draper Tools, Jordan Road Surfacing and NGK Spark Plugs.

Image credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography

 

PRESS RELEASE: 18th March 2017

Rhys Yates secures fifth spot and first Englishman home at British Rally Championship opener, the Border Counties Rally

Chesterfield rally star Rhys Yates stamped his authority firmly on the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) leader board last weekend as he took his Ford Fiesta R5 to fifth place at the Brick and Steel Border Counties Rally.
In only his second season in the series, Yates triumphed over many more experienced competitors and his top five result meant he was also the first English driver home in the ultra-competitive BRC field. In a weekend where the Brettex Site Services backed ace was never outside the top ten, Yates is well on course to better his tenth place finish position in last year’s BRC standings.

One of the strongest BRC entries for many years headed to the market town of Jedburgh in the Borders for the opening round of the season which would offer two tough days of action in the south of Scotland forests. Heavy rain descended on the region for the ceremonial start under the shadow of Jedburgh Abbey and the two stages on Friday night would prove to be a tough start to the season for many.

But Yates and co-driver Carl Williamson took the inclement weather in their stride and opened proceedings with a solid eighth fastest time on the opening night time test. With a repeat of the Craik stage to follow, the Michelin shod Fiesta held firm in the mud strewn stage and sixth fastest through the second run meant Yates ended the opening leg in a firm sixth overall.

The rain and mist would not subside for day two of the event and Yates elected to play safe through the first of the morning’s stages. Later admitting he was perhaps a little too cautious in the second and third stages of the day, he dropped to eighth spot as the daylight offered the chance to make up valuable time.

But as confidence grew, the times began to tumble and Yates began to string together several top six times during the mid-afternoon loop and in turn, began to move up the leader board. A mature run over the afternoon stages saw him hunt down the positions in front, climbing from eighth to fifth over the closing stages, crossing the ceremonial finish back in Jedburgh with his best ever result in the British Championship.

“We really could not have kicked off our BRC campaign any better than that” said Yates at the finish. “The whole weekend was perfect from start to finish and we had no problems with the car whatsoever which is a real credit to the team. Carl and I worked really well in the car and he gave me the confidence to push on where we could and as my confidence grew, you can see the times started to come down”.

Being first Englishman home was also a fitting reward for the 23 year old. “If you look at the names on the results, they have all been rallying for many years. This is only my second year in the championship and I have a lot to learn but I know that there is much more to come too. This result gives us a great start to our BRC campaign so we just need to keep this up on the next round in Cumbria”.

The second round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship takes place in Carlisle on the 29th/30th April.

Yates is backed by Michelin, Protyre, Kick Motorsport, Simpson, Zenith Racing, Prestone, Draper Tools, Jordan Road Surfacing, PIAA and NGK Spark Plugs