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Chesterfield rally driver Rhys Yates endured a tough time at last weekend’s RSAC Scottish Rally (19th/20th May), having to withdraw the Brettex Fiesta R5 from the event after hitting a rock on the opening leg.

The third round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship saw crews head to Dumfries for the notorious event which consisted of a two-day blast around traditional stages such as Twiglees and Ae.  Yates started the event an impressive fourth in the BRC standings, just four points away from the podium spots and was aiming to close in on the podium positions in Scotland.

Friday night consisted of two runs across the Mount Joe stage in the Greskine Forest complex with the second pass contested in darkness.  The rough nature of the stages in the region are well documented and the plan was to ease into the event during Friday, before mounting an attack in the daylight of Saturday’s stages.

Yates and co-driver Carl Williamson emerged from the opening eight mile test in the Michelin shod Fiesta unscathed as those around them suffered punctures on the ragged rocks that littered the forest track. Admitting he was perhaps a little cautious through the opener, Yates was pleased to stay out of trouble and was looking forward to the second pass.

But with the weather closing in, fog would be added to the already torrential rain in the area and visibility was significantly reduced in patches along the route.  Turning into a fast right hander, the Fiesta clipped an unseen rock which broke the steering instantly and Yates would go no further.

Back at the Lockerbie service area, the team assessed the car in the early hours of Saturday morning and made the decision to withdraw from the event due to the damage sustained.

“It’s really disappointing to end our event like this but the Scottish Rally was not to be for us this weekend” said Yates.

“As well as the steering, we found a coolant leak so rather than risk the car and further failures later in the event, we made the tough call to not start on Saturday. It’s hard to make decisions like that but we wouldn’t have any points to chase and competing when not at ten-tenths can be risky. I want to thank everyone for their support, especially the marshals and recovery crews who stayed in the forest with us until gone midnight to make sure we were out safely.”

The next round of the series takes crews to Belgium for the Ypres Rally at the end of June.

Yates is backed in 2017 by Michelin, Protyre, Kick Motorsport, Simpson, Zenith Racing, Prestone, Draper Tools, Jordan Road Surfacing and NGK Spark Plugs.

He also receives grateful support from a number of local businesses including H&F PES, Maun Motors, MFA, Calow Lane MOT Centre, The Mobility Shop, Glazebrook Transport, Woodleigh Motor Sales, Juice Motorsport and Clear Edge Filtration Group.

Image credit: Race and Rally Photography

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