Chesterfield rally driver Rhys Yates will head to the Nicky Grist Stages in Wales this weekend, just days after taking a top five Prestone MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) finish at the gruelling Ypres Rally in Belgium.
Fresh from yet another solid result at the notorious event which claimed many top-flight drivers over the course of the weekend, Yates like all BRC crews had just two weeks to prepare their cars for the fifth round of the series which takes place in Builth Wells.
He was pleased to have mastered the tough two-day European event but has had little time to revel in his glory. The Brettex Team had just a handful of days to overhaul the Fiesta R5 and change it into gravel trim for the opening day of the event in the classic Welsh forests of Crychan and Halfway.
There will be no time to rest during the event either, as the rally will then shift onto asphalt for the second day, meaning the team will need to revert the Ford back to its original set up at the overnight halt on Saturday.
Despite being in only his second season of the British Championship, Yates will head to Wales equal seventh in the series. As the Welsh stages mark the turning point to a predominantly sealed surface finish to the season, he is on course to bag his best finish in the sport, eclipsing last years tenth spot.
However, before he can head to the closed public road events of the Ulster and Rally Isle of Man, Yates faces the ultimate challenge of a multi-surface event in the Nicky Grist Stages. Complete with new co-driver Alex Lee for the event, it’s a test he is most certainly looking forward to.
“It’s one hell of a combination this weekend,” remarked Yates.
“You have unforgiving forest stages where you need to be at the top of your game to do well on Saturday. Then a whole new ball game on Sunday with the Military tar roads where you need to be inch-perfect or you’re off the road. But that’s part of the reason why we are here and it’s a great challenge for both crew and team, I’m really excited about the event”.
The competition will be as tough as ever as the British Championship enters the second half of the season.
“Some of the guys in the series have been driving these stages for years and I’ve only been over Epynt once really, so we are on the back foot a little. Having said that we adapted really well in Belgium and proved that we can stay out of trouble and get strong results. That’s certainly the plan this weekend too.”
Yates’ principle sponsor Brettex will also back the event, helping local charities Tirabad Village Hall and the Brecon Rotary Group by covering the spectators programme printing costs for the rally.
Yates is backed in 2017 by Michelin, Protyre, Kick Motorsport, Simpson, Zenith Racing, Prestone, Draper Tools, Jordan Road Surfacing and NGK Spark Plugs.
He also receives grateful support from a number of local businesses including H&F PES, Maun Motors, MFA, Calow Lane MOT Centre, The Mobility Shop, Glazebrook Transport, Woodleigh Motor Sales, Juice Motorsport and Clear Edge Filtration Group.