Chesterfield’s Rhys Yates completed his first overseas World Rally Championship event — the Rally RACC, Rally Spain — to finish as the first English driver.
Yates, along with co-driver Alex Lee, overcame steering failure to finish 34th overall in the tough three-day event on the Costa Daurada.
Fresh from a career-best fourth overall in the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, the Brettex-backed Ford Fiesta R5 driver tackled more than 310km of special stages — along with the additional challenge of the opening day’s tests taking place on gravel with a switch to asphalt for the second and final day.
Despite being in only his second year in the car, 24-year-old Yates stamped his mark on the timesheets during the pre-event shakedown, beating many WRC regulars in the process.
“That really was the toughest event I have ever done and no matter how prepared I thought I was, it was much harder,” he said.
“But to have secured a finish was really important for us and when you look at the times compared to the guys that are in the WRC2 category, we did a good job against them.
“It was just so unfortunate to have had the steering issues as really I think we could have been heading for a top 25 position. But I’m overjoyed to have experienced the whole week here and I must thank the team for all their efforts in keeping us going.”
Yates’s next challenge is the penultimate round of the World Rally Championship, the Wales Rally GB.
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.