Chesterfield driver Rhys Yates delivered a brilliant performance to lead the latest round of the British Rally Championship, the Renties Ypres Rally in Belgium.
Unfortunately for Rhys and co-driver James Morgan, a small mistake on the eighth stage of the Friday-Saturday event cost them the lead and their dreams of a maiden British Rally Championship win.
Rhys ran fractionally wide in a fast-left corner, clipped a tree and damaged a right-rear suspension link on the RYR ŠKODA Fabia R5.
Rhys was confident of getting the car to the end of the test when the part broke and dropped the Fabia into a ditch.
Unable to fix the damage themselves, Rhys and James took time penalties on the remaining two Friday stages before rejoining on Saturday.
Rhys posted more fastest times to begin his climb back up the leaderboard —his strongest ever BRC performance – before on SS15 when the pair went off the road.
Rhys said: “I’m so chuffed with the pace we’ve shown here in Ypres. The competition’s massive out here, both from the BRC crews and the locals, and, right from the start in qualifying, we’ve shown good, sustainable speed.
“This is one of the fastest Tarmac rallies in all of Europe, so to be third quickest on the qualifying stage — and fastest Brit — was the perfect start.
“We only had two (bad) moments in the entire rally — and they have cost us the chance of a first British win.
“It’s disappointing not to bring home the first British win, but the upside is the speed.”