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redkite16 (20)After a solid start to his MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) preparations on the Cambrian Rally, Chesterfield rally ace Rhys Yates went one better at last weekends Red Kite Stages to grab 3rd overall on the Llandovery based rally. Having only missing out on a top five position thanks to a tie break earlier this month, Yates and co-driver Tom Woodburn powered their Brettex Site Services backed Fiesta R5 to the podium spot amongst some ultra-tricky conditions on the South Wales stages.

The Michelin backed BRC newcomer headed to the event in a bid to gain more seat time ahead of the opening round of the series, The Mid Wales Stages which takes place on 5/6 March.  Yates would have the added bonus of several BRC contenders also using the event as a shakedown and the 23 year old would be able to gauge his times against those perhaps more ‘seasoned’ competitors.

The morning had dawned with a thick layer of fog which added to the issues for crews who would need to negotiate the six slippery stages ahead of them.  Sadly Yates would be one of the first to be caught out by the conditions, losing over 30 seconds with a spin on a tricky right hander. This left the 11th seed languishing down in seventh on the opener but any uncertainty on his chances were banished with a third fastest on the second test which vaulted Yates back to within a whisker of the podium.

Stage three was the turning point however and Yates grabbed third overall as he settled into the slippery conditions across the forests surrounding Epynt military ranges. It would be there that he would stay for the remainder of the event, taking another confidence boosting result ahead of his British Championship campaign.

“It’s great to be so consistent with our pace and that’s certainly going to be key when you look at the championship as a whole” said Yates at the finish.  “We are getting quicker and quicker as we spend more time in the car which is encouraging and when you look at our times considering it’s only our fourth gravel event in the car, I’m about where I want to be”.

But he doesn’t underestimate the task ahead. “The British Championship is going to be epic and that’s why we are trying to spend as long in the car as possible.  It’s the second rally with the new Michelin’s and we have found a great set up in the car now so the car is feeling fantastic. It’s going to be a really big challenge but I really can’t wait. We are ready.”

Yates kicks off his MSA British Rally Championship assault on the opening round, the the Mid Wales Stages on 5/6 March.

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

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