Chesterfield driver Rhys Yates was the first Englishman home when grabbing fifth place in the opening round of the British Rally Championship.
The 23-year-old Yates stamped his authority on the championship leaderboard with a fine performance in his Ford Fiesta R5 at an ultra-competitive Border Counties Rally. Starting only his second season in the series, he beat many more experienced rivals and is now well placed to better his final position of tenth in last year’s overall standings.
One of the strongest fields for many years descended on the market town of Jedburgh for two tough days of action in the south of Scotland forests. But Yates and co-driver Carl Williamson defied heavy rain to open up with a solid eighth fastest time in the first night-time test. They were then sixth fastest in the first mud-strewn stage to end the opening leg sixth overall, and although dropping to eighth in the second and third stages, confidence grew and Yates ended up with his best result in the British Championship.
“We could not have started any better,” he beamed. “The whole weekend was perfect, and we had no problems with the car. I still have a lot to learn, but I know there is much more to come too.” The next round is in Carlisle at the end of April.