Yates has high hopes in toughest rally of the year

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Chesterfield rally ace Rhys Yates resumes his BRC assault at this weekend’s Nicky Grist Stages.

Just two weeks after ending his RSAC Scottish Rally hopes in a ditch, Brettex Site Services backed rally driver Rhys Yates will head to Wales this weekend to contest the fifth round of the MSA British Rally Championship, the Nicky Grist Stages (9th & 10th July).

Overcoming a race against time to ready the new Fiesta R5 Evo for the mixed surface event, Yates is looking to add to his championship points tally by playing his double points “joker” card and climb the leader board in the series.

In only his first full year behind the wheel of a four-wheel-drive, Yates has shown an impressive turn of pace throughout the season and an upgrade to the newer Evo specification Fiesta would be a welcome addition to the Chesterfield rally drivers’ plans.

Having only obtained the new car days before the Scottish Rally at the end of June, Yates with co-driver Tom Woodburn had the best chance of making in-roads on their championship position. But it all ended on stage five when he slid into a ditch and into retirement.

With just two weeks to ready the Michelin shod Fiesta, the team have worked flat out to ensure Yates can make the Builth Wells based event this weekend.

Whilst the damage was not significant, the timeframe available meant that many late nights were endured by the family run team to return the car to its former glory. The cars first outing after its rebuild will be at the pre-event shakedown this week.

The Nicky Grist Stages is a unique feature in the BRC calendar thanks to its two-day, mixed surface format.

Saturday 9th will see crews tackle 45 miles on the gravel stages in infamous forests such as Halfway and Crychan with 60 miles of closed asphalt roads across the tricky Epynt Military Ranges the next day.

Yates is looking forward to the additional challenge that the event brings.

“The team have worked really hard to get the car ready and they have done a fantastic job,” says Yates. “This was one of the events I was most looking forward to this year and it’s a real test of crew, team and machine. The gravel stages on Saturday are some of the best in the country and I can’t wait to get the new car into the groove in there.”

But Yates believes the Sunday stages on the closed military roads will be key to a decent result.

“The real challenge of the rally comes on the second day and Epynt is well known for catching out even the most experienced and local drivers. It’s going to be important to keep our head and we will certainly need to have a good recce to get our notes spot on. The rally will be won and lost in there and we need a finish under our belts so a mature approach will be needed this weekend especially with the double points on offer thanks to the ‘joker’ system. Hopefully I can reward the team’s efforts with a decent result.”