Yates is red hot on his dream debut in Azores

Rhys Yates flying high in the Azores. Photo by Josef Petru
Rhys Yates flying high in the Azores. Photo by Josef Petru

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.