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RhysYates_inaction_Cambrian16MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) hopeful Rhys Yates powered his Brettex Fiesta R5 to a creditable sixth overall at last weekend’s Cambrian Rally in North Wales, only missing out on a top five position thanks to a tie break. Using the BTRDA opener as a pre-season test, Yates battled much of the day with a host of fellow BRC challengers and from a start number of 11, climbed the leader board to set a string of top 5 times in the Michelin backed Fiesta.

The Llandudno based event saw the debut of the Yates’ R5 car in 2015 and the 23 year old from Chesterfield returned to the Welsh forests in a bid to gain seat time ahead of his BRC campaign which kicks off in just a few weeks’ time.  The event would also provide a benchmark for Yates who was using his Michelin tyres for the first time in competition, only completing a brief test beforehand to acclimatise to the new rubber.

Co-driven by Tom Woodburn, the duo kicked off the eight stage event with a solid run through the opening test, coping well with the slippery and sometimes rough conditions.  It wasn’t long however before Yates found a comfortable rhythm in the car and the third ‘Penmachno’ stage saw an incredible second fastest stage time from the ex-British Moto X star.  His run during the morning loop meant he emerged a creditable fourth overall at the service halt.

Yates took the remaining four forest stages in his stride, recording a host of impressive times; including another second overall to stay well within reach of a top three spot on only his third event in the car. He emerged from the final stage tied on times in fifth, dropping back to sixth due to a tie break and crossing the Llandudno promenade finish in a jubilant mood.

“I’m really pleased with how we did today and we are definitely heading in the right direction in terms of pace in the car” said Yates.  “I had a few slower stages where I just couldn’t get a rhythm going but overall it’s a promising start to our BRC preparations. We were swapping times with the other BRC guys and I know that there is still more to come from me and the car. If you look at the final times, we were just eight seconds away from a podium spot which is good going against these World Rally Cars”.

Yates was also impressed with the new Michelin tyres in the muddy conditions. “I was really pleased with how the Michelins performed in the stages and I really felt I could ‘lean’ on them a lot more than before. We were using the event to find a decent set up around the tyres and we have certainly done that. The asphalt tyres were amazing on the Great Orme stage too so they will really come into their own on events like the Circuit of Ireland and the Manx.”

The Brettex Fiesta will now be re-prepared for Yates’s next outing on Sunday’s Red Kite Stages which offers more seat time ahead of the opening BRC round, the Mid Wales Stages on 5/6 March.

Yates is supported by Brettex Site Services, Michelin, NGK, PIAA and Simpson.

Image courtesy of MCR Motorsport Media.

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