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Yates-002Chesterfield rally ace Rhys Yates will head to the third round of the MSA British Rally Championship this weekend to maximise on his strong start to his first ever season in the high profile series.  The Brettex Site Services backed Fiesta R5 driver recorded an impressive sixth BRC contender at the all-asphalt Circuit of Ireland Rally last month to leave him ninth overall in the championship. Yates will now benefit from previous experience of the stages as he returns the car to gravel trim for the two-day blast through Kielder Forest on the Scottish Borders.

Yates made a promising start to the season at the Mid Wales Stages in March, but couldn’t capitalise on his impressive early pace. And, despite battling against competitors in the FIA European Rally Championship on the Circuit of Ireland Rally, he soon settled into his first ever closed road event to a finish which would vault him inside the British Championship top 10.

Michelin backed Yates has a limited knowledge of the stages in the series but this weekend’s Carlisle Rally will be the first time he will have previously driven on stages in the championship.  He contested a BTRDA championship event in 2015 which utilised the tricky forests, albeit in the vastly different Fiesta R2. Along with co-driver Tom Woodburn, Yates has his sights set firmly on more points to add to his tally and climb further up the leader board which is awash with experienced drivers, but he is in a confident mood.

“It’s going to be great to get back onto the gravel again with the R5 and despite many people fearing the stages in Kielder, I’m really looking forward to them” says Yates.  “The forest is legendary and can certainly catch out the unwary but I did really well here last year and the stages can be really satisfying when you get them right. Of course the speed difference will be quite significant, but I learnt the car quickly in Ireland so I’m sure I can do it again.”

The Carlisle Rally has a unique format which will suit the Fiesta pilot. “We had a great opening loop on the Mid Wales Stages and showed a good pace” he says.  “This weekend is pretty much two sprints on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning so providing we get a good start, I’m hoping to get more points on the board and see if we can climb a bit closer to the leaders.”

BRC crews will start the event at around midday on Saturday 30th April, returning just before dark to the rally base at the H&H Group headquarters in Carlisle. Sunday kicks off at 8.30am for the remaining stages before finishing at midday back in Carlisle.

Yates is supported by Brettex Site Services, Michelin, NGK Spark Plugs, MSL Motorsport and Simpson.

Image courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography

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