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cambrian16 (22)Chesterfield rally driver Rhys Yates will take on the biggest challenge of his career this weekend as he kicks off his MSA British Rally Championship assault at the Mid Wales Stages. The opening round of the series has attracted a 50 strong entry from around the world and the Brettex Site Services backed Fiesta R5 ace will go head to head with some of the best drivers in the business in a bid for British championship glory.

Having recently secured the backing of French tyre manufacturer Michelin, the 23 year old has enjoyed a positive start to his pre-season preparations with a sixth overall at the recent Cambrian Rally and a career best third overall at the Red Kite Stages last weekend. Using the events as a valuable “seat time” exercise, Yates will head to the Newtown based event buoyed by his adaption to the new R5 Fiesta which was acquired at the tail end of 2015.

However, the ex-British Moto X rider is well aware of the task ahead of him and is looking forward to battling against some of the hottest names in rallying. “We have been working towards this moment for a long time so it’s great to finally be starting the first round of the British Rally Championship” says Yates.  “It’s an amazing entry list and whilst we are starting at car 14, there are a lot of guys ahead of us with years of experience at this level and even the World Rally Championship so we need to find our own pace during the first day and go from there”.

The two-day event launches into a 28 mile blast under the cover of darkness which will be a new experience for Yates, having only ever rallied at night on asphalt. Despite this, Yates believes that consistency will be key for his championship chances, during the start of the season at least. “It’s a long year, I don’t think being a hero on the opening two stages will win us the championship” he says. “All of the events aside from the Nicky Grist Stages are new to me so we will take each event as it comes and look to build on our results as the year progresses. We won’t get the EVO kit for the Fiesta till mid-way through the season anyway so it’s all about bagging points at this stage”.

Co-driven by Tom Woodburn, the young duo have been preparing for the BRC opener for some time and are now ready to take on the challenge that is ahead of them. “This is what we have been working towards so I feel as ready as I`ll ever be” says Yates. “We have been working hard on our notes as this will be the first time I`ll be able to make my own with a pre-event recce, but I’m looking forward to that. We have a great car with some fantastic support from our backers Brettex, Michelin, Simpson and NGK Spark Plugs so we just need to go out there and get a good result”.

The 5th/6th March event comprises of six stages across the Hafren and Myherin forest complex which provide over 63 miles of action during the weekend.   Yates is supported by Brettex Site Services, Michelin, NGK and Simpson.

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