Chesterfield rally driver Rhys Yates had a stunning debut in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC), finishing third in the junior under-28 section.
The tough competition in the Azores also saw the first appearance of his new Skoda Fabia R5.
“I really could not have asked for more this weekend — it has been a mega start to the year,” said Yates.
“The stages are immense but some of the hardest I’ve done, so I’m pleased to have a decent pace on my debut.
“I’m still learningabout the car and it’s the first time (co-driver) Elliott Edmondson and I have sat together, so to have some top three stage times is a real confidence boost.
“I was looking for a top-ten result and with 35 other R5s in the event, with many of those crews having done this event before, it was a tall order.
“But to take the third place under-28 junior ERC podium is a special result for me on my ERC debut.
“Massive thanks go to all the team for ensuring a trouble-free weekend and, of course, Elliott for his great work this weekend.”
Yates had enjoyed a positive two previous seasons in the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, culminating in fourth place in the standings at the end of 2017.
A shift from his Ford Fiesta R5 to the Skoda in 2018 showed the 25-year old meant business.
Yates is sponsored by Brettex, Michelin Motorsport, Jordan Road Surfacing, Draper Tools, Rallynuts, Rainworth Skoda, Nicky Grist Motorsport, H&F Furniture and Protyre.