Yates gets another crack at World Rally Championship

Chesterfield rally-driver Rhys Yates in action in Spain, ahead of this weekend's Wales Rally. (PHOTO BY: James Ward/Chicane Media)
Chesterfield rally-driver Rhys Yates in action in Spain, ahead of this weekend's Wales Rally. (PHOTO BY: James Ward/Chicane Media)

Rally-driving ace Rhys Yates will take on his second event inside a month in the FIA World Championship this weekend, gunning for a top result.

The progressive Yates, of Chesterfield, tackles the Dayinsure Wales Rally, just weeks after overcoming steering failure to finish the tough Rally De Espana in Spain in 34th place overall.

The 24-year-old, alongside his co-driver Alex Lee, will compete in the penultimate round of the World Championship in their Brettex Ford Fiesta R5, and will be looking to be the first Brit home in his category.

In what is only his second full season in the series, Yates has already enjoyed a successful year in the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, finishing in fourth spot overall against many more experienced drivers.

His reward was a trip to Spain, where he was buoyed by a string of decent stage-times on the mixed surface which, he believes, will stand him in good stead in Wales this weekend.

“It was our very first overseas World Championship 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 leaderboard and they have been doing the worlds all season. They are 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.

“I was still learning about the car when I did the Wales Rally last year, 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. I’d like to think we can surprise a few people this weekend.”

The Wales race, based at the Toyota plant in Deeside, is the penultimate round of the World Championship. The opening stage is today (Thursday) before tomorrow (Friday) takes the crews into mid-Wales, followed by a long day on Saturday when evening stages ensure the action doesn’t finish until 11 pm. Sunday rounds off the event with just four stages before the finale in Llandudno from about 1.30 pm.