Chesterfield's Rhys Yates maintains second spot in British Rally Championship
Chesterfield’s Rhys Yates has maintained his second place in the 2021 British Rally Championship standings after finishing fourth on the Nicky Grist Stages against the most competitive BRC field in recent history.
Yates was able to maintain his second position in the championship and is still just three points from the lead.
He said: “I’m really happy with my driving and the car, I just think the guys in front had a bit more experience on these stages, but that’s not taking anything away from them, they are fast drivers who have driven well.
“The best we could do today was best of the rest, but we will take fourth. All in all I’m happy with the M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 and my driving, but nobody is ever happy with fourth.
“There are some incredibly fast guys behind us, I’ve just got to take a step back and see that I’ve driven well.”
The Nicky Grist Stages were a challenging and flat-out affair that attracted entries from the best crews in Britain, setting up a thrilling fight on the dusty Epynt stages in South Wales.
Yates opened his BRC gravel account with third on the opening stage of the rally and fourth on the following stage.
For the last two stages of the first loop Yates ran into engine difficulties, which compromised his out-and-out pace in order to preserve his chances of getting back to service.
The midday service saw the M-Sport team help Yates fine tune the setup of his Fiesta Rally2 while simultaneously resolving the engine troubles hampering him at the end of the first loop.
The second loop was a second pass on each of the morning’s four stages, all in the same order. With short starting intervals and lingering dust, the second pass proved extremely difficult while favouring those with experience of the stages.
Undeterred, Yates continued to chase another podium finish with a firm focus on collecting a healthy amount of points for his championship campaign. Yates was able to make it to the finish of the rally without further issues on the final quartet of special stages.
Thanks to staying inside the top-five on the timesheets for all eight stages, Yates delivered a solid fourth place overall and maintained his second position in the championship.