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RHYS YATES


2018 MSA British Rally Championship
1 Pirelli International Rally 28 - 29 April
2 Renties Ypres Rally 22 - 23 June
3 Ulster Rally 17 - 18 August
4 Rally Isle of Man 13 - 15 Spetember
5 Wales Rally GB 4 - 7 October

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 29th April 2018

Yates storms to second overall at British Championship opener

Chesterfield rally driver Rhys Yates kicked off his Prestone MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) campaign in emphatic style by taking second overall and his best ever result in the series at the Pirelli International Rally.

Driving his Brettex backed Skoda Fabia R5, Yates enjoyed a “dream start to the season” to set fastest time on the final two stages of the event in Carlisle, snatching second place and beating a multiple British champion in the process.

His result surpasses his third place at the Nicky Grist Stages in 2017 and puts him into his strongest ever position as the BRC season begins to gather pace.

The 25 year old would head to the Carlisle based event to begin only his third season in the British Championship and for the first time, would contest the series in a new car. Yates has campaigned a Ford Fiesta R5 for the last two seasons but has made the switch to a Skoda for 2018.

The transition has been a successful one and with a closed season testing programme and podium place at a warm up event in Scotland last week, Yates would begin his BRC assault with confidence.

The eight-stage event would take place entirely in the notorious Kielder forest complex with over 80 competitive stage miles ahead of the 60 crews. Its blind crests, car eating ditches and high speed sections are all well documented, having claimed many champions in the past and having respect for the stages would be essential to nett any kind of worthy result.

A healthy British Championship contingent headed out into the stages on Saturday morning all eager to take first blood on the opening round of the season.
Rhys Yates - in action

Yates and co-driver Elliott Edmondson set their stall out early with third fastest over the eight mile Pundershaw opening stage, but only 0.2 secs down on second spot. Proving that his pace was no fluke, Yates was second quickest in stage two to sit second overall behind four-time BRC champ Keith Cronin.

Thanks to the fast and flowing nature of the forest, chicanes would make up the significant architecture of the special tests and on the longest of the event; Yates would lose valuable time with a spin on a tight junction on the 15 mile stage.

With almost 20 seconds lost to the leader, Yates would drop back to third overall at the half way point of the event but was still pleased with the marked progress on his 2017 pace. A brief service halt allowed time to re-coup and a fresh approach for the afternoon loop soon saw the return to his earlier turn of speed.

Yates headed into the final test of the event two seconds behind Cronin and would need to have the best stage of his life to overhaul the Hyundai driver. Yates didn’t disappoint, stopping the clocks not only three seconds faster than Cronin, but quickest overall to take his first BRC stage win and best ever result.

“This really does feel like a win” said an elated Yates at the finish podium.

“I really would have taken third place this morning, actually I think I would have taken fourth to be fair so to come away from the first round of the British Championship in second place is fantastic. That final stage win was really important for me as well and to do it under pressure makes it even sweeter. I knew the gap to second was just three seconds or so and I just thought; we need to keep pushing here and it just worked out. It’s been a perfect weekend and a dream start to the season”.

Yates now heads to the South of France in mid-May for a one off entry in the second round of the French Championship. This is valuable experience for the next round of the British Championship in Belgium, competing on some of the fastest and flowing stages based in Monte Carlo.

The series now moves onto asphalt in May, where crews will head to the closed road Ypres Rally in Belgium and Yates believes he remains in a strong position.

“This car is awesome on tarmac and I probably rate myself slightly better on that surface too so hopefully we can keep building on today’s result and keep the momentum going forward throughout the season. “

 

PRESS RELEASE: 24th April 2018

Yates stuns in Scotland ahead of BRC campaign

Rhys Yates made the best possible start to his Prestone MSA British Rally Championship preparations last weekend, taking third overall at the Speyside Stages (21st April) in Elgin, round two of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship.
The Chesterfield star will embark on his third season in the BRC this week as the championship kicks off at the Pirelli International Rally, but would head to the North East of Scotland in a bid to gain additional seat time in the Brettex backed Skoda Fabia R5. His efforts were rewarded with a podium spot against tough competition in the 100 strong field.

Run by the Carlisle based CA1 outfit, Yates and co-driver Alex Lee would ensure they would head to the British Championship in the best possible form, by tackling the Scottish event at the weekend, proving further still their intentions for a strong BRC campaign.

Despite being the 25 year old’s first trip to the event and having to rely on the organisers provided route notes, Yates would set his stall out early on and a joint fastest time over the second test in Cooper Park highlighted his intentions from the off.

Never straying outside of the top three positions on each of the 10 stages in the rally, he reached the Elgin finish podium to spray the champagne in fine style and would head to Carlisle this week in a buoyant mood.

“I’ve really enjoyed the event today and it’s been the perfect way to kick-start our BRC season in the Skoda” said Yates at the finish celebrations.

“We had nothing to prove by coming here aside from getting extra miles under our belts and it was a very relaxed rally. The stages are great and the pace up here is pretty intense so we couldn’t afford to back off too much. But we are right where we want to be and I’m really excited about the prospect of the BRC season getting underway”.

His third season in the British Championship could arguably be his best chance yet of bettering his fourth overall in the championship in 2017 as his knowledge of the events and additional experience plays a valuable part.
“I really feel I`m ready for this year” he says, “more than I ever have been and everything has come together perfectly. It’s great to have the help and support of the CA1 Sport team, their experience is incredibly valuable and having Alex back in the car is great for consistency. There are many competitors out there with more experience than me and I do have to remind myself I’ve only been rallying a four wheel drive for three years now, but the encouraging thing is that my pace never stops improving and that’s a path I want to continue throughout the year”.

His BRC campaign will be boosted by selected overseas outings which Yates believes will help his domestic assault

“You can never have too much seat time but competing abroad on events I’ve never done before ads an extra dimension to my driving style. I have never wanted to stand still in the sport and I’ll admit I’m learning all the time, so heading into Europe is important for me to develop my skills and keep shaving tenths off here and there. Those all add up and I`ll be looking to make sure we start the BRC off in the best possible way in Carlisle.”

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 7th February 2018

Yates expands rally campaign for 2018

After recently acquiring a brand new Skoda Fabia R5 from Skoda Motorsport, Chesterfield rally driver Rhys Yates will embark on a busy season as he announces his plans for British, European and World Rally Championship outings in 2018.

The 25-year-old driver had a successful season behind the wheel of an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 in 2017, finishing fourth overall in the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) and enjoyed outings in Spain, Wales Rally GB and the invite-only Monza Rally Show. Yates will now kick off his packed year with a pre-season test in Sweden to get acclimatised to his new surroundings this weekend (10th/11th February).

After using the Malcolm Wilson Rally as a warm-up, his season will formally start with the opening round of the British Championship, the Border Counties Rally in March which takes place in the forests of the South of Scotland and Kielder. For the season opener, Yates will be run by the Cumbrian team CA1 sport, who ran former BRC Champion David Bogie and front runner Fredrik Ahlin.

Yates will then contest the remaining rounds of the British series, complemented by outings in both the World Rally Championship and European Rally Championship to continue to build his experience of overseas events.

“Throughout my rallying career and even when I was contesting the British Moto X championship, I have always wanted to be as progressive as possible and learn as I go, so I really wanted to take everything one step at a time,” says Yates.

“We did things the right way by starting in a Suzuki Swift, then an R2 Fiesta before moving up to four-wheel-drive but I feel the time is right to chase down a title and I think the British Championship could be in reach this year. We have the right car, right team and Alex (Lee) is back in the co-drivers seat this season so I will have the confidence to push, where perhaps I was cautious last year. It will be interesting to see what the pace is like on the Border Counties”.

Yates will also look to expand his outings on European events after a successful run in Rally Spain and the Monza Rally Sprint in 2017.

“Being abroad in high profile, overseas events was great last season I really want to head back out there and see what we can do. We will do Wales Rally GB again as its part of the British Championship this season and Spain was one of the best events I’ve done so we will be going back there. But I want to try some ERC rounds too as the R5 competition it mega on those events so it will give us a great benchmark to measure against during the year.”