Rally-driver Yates wins award in final race of season
Rising Chesterfield driver Rhys Yates closed out his debut season in the World Rally Championship (WRC) by finishing 32nd overall and landing a prestigious award.
In his Ford Fiesta R5, Yates was one of 49 drivers who tackled almost 1,300km in the Dayinsure Wales Rally GB, which spanned three days through rain, mud, fog and even a little bit of sunshine!
His team approached the opening day with an open mind about his chances but with a firm eye on gathering experience. It turned into one of the most character-building days ever as Yates and co-driver Tom Woodburn suffered an amazing three punctures which saw them plummet down the leaderboard to 40th overall.
Never to be defeated, they decided to push on in Saturday’s stages and enjoyed a much better time with no real issues. By the final test at Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire, Yates had battled up to 34th overall.
Sunday, therefore, became a test of consolidation, but not before he took another two placings by the close of the event in Llandudno. Yates was also awarded the Richard Burns Trophy for the best result from a non-priority driver under the age 25 -- a prestigious accolade in memory of the only English WRC champion.
The 22-year-old Yates said: “It was an awesome event. From the stages to the thousands of fans lining the route, my co-driver Tom, the team and not forgetting all the unpaid volunteers who made it possible.
“It has been a year of first experiences for us but we now have base settings for 2017 when we can really make a push for results.”
The close season will see the team look at their options and make decisions as to where the brightly-coloured Fiesta will make its next outing. Yates’s corporate partners this season have been are Brettex Site Services, Michelin, NGK Spark Plugs, Simpson and HRX racewear.