Chesterfield rally driver Rhys Yates kicked off his Prestone MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) campaign in emphatic style by taking second overall and his best ever result in the series at the Pirelli International Rally on Saturday.
Driving his Brettex backed Skoda Fabia R5, Yates enjoyed a “dream start to the season” to set fastest time on the final two stages of the event in Carlisle, snatching second place and beating a multiple British champion in the process.
His result surpasses his third place at the Nicky Grist Stages in 2017 and puts him into his strongest ever position as the BRC season begins to gather pace.
The 25-year-old would head to the Carlisle based event to begin only his third season in the British Championship and for the first time, would contest the series in a new car.
The eight-stage event took place in the notorious Kielder forest complex with over 80 competitive stage miles ahead of the 60 crews. Its blind crests, car eating ditches and high speed sections are all well documented, having claimed many champions in the past and having respect for the stages would be essential to nett any kind of worthy result.
And it was Yates who was quickest overall to take his first BRC stage win and best ever result.
“This really does feel like a win,” said an elated Yates at the finish podium.
“I really would have taken third place this morning, actually I think I would have taken fourth to be fair so to come away from the first round of the British Championship in second place is fantastic.
“That final stage win was really important for me as well and to do it under pressure makes it even sweeter.
“I knew the gap to second was just three seconds or so and I just thought; we need to keep pushing here and it just worked out. It’s been a perfect weekend and a dream start to the season.”
Yates now heads to the South of France in mid-May for a one off entry in the second round of the French Championship.