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After Britain’s round of the WRC at the beginning of the month, Yates would then head directly to Latvia to contest the FIA European Rally Championship event, Rally Liepāja (12-14th October), using a Roman Kresta Racing Skoda Fabia R5.

The Brettex Rally Team have been working hard to prepare their own Skoda Fabia for Spain after it endured a tough time at Wales Rally GB just a few weeks previously. The gruelling event would not only be a round of the WRC but also count as the final two points scoring opportunities for the MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) in which Yates was in for a chance at the title.

Yates and co-driver Elliott Edmondson showed huge promise on the opening leg of the event, taking second BRC crew before a Welsh ditch would claim the Skoda on the second full day of the rally.

The duo would then make a switch to the Kresta Skoda for the super-fast Latvian roads. The 26-year-old driver overcame a difficult road position and an early off-road excursion to take an impressive sixth place Under 28 Junior and seventh overall.

With the Brettex Skoda now readied, Yates will head to Spain with the added advantage of having contested the unique event in 2017 behind the wheel of his Ford Fiesta R5. After running inside the top 25 for much of the event, Yates slipped down the order over the closing stages with a steering issue to finish 34th overall and 17th in RC2.

The popular event has an added twist thanks to its dual-surface format with the opening day held on gravel and the following two days held on asphalt. The surface change offers an additional challenge for crew and team as they only have a limited time to alter the car’s suspension and set up between legs.

Now, without the pressures of a championship to fight for, Yates is eager to get back behind the wheel in Spain.

“It been a real advantage to be in the car for three weeks in a row so I`m more confident than ever heading into Spain,” said Yates.

“It always takes a handful of stages to warm up properly when you have been out of the car but on WRC events like this, there simply isn’t time to find a pace you are happy with, you need to be on it from the word go. Add to that the change of surface and it becomes more important than ever to be on your toes.”

Yates is aiming to build on last years experience on the event

“We don’t have a championship to chase here and we are not registered for WRC2 points or anything so I can afford to do my own thing and what happens. Of course, I`ll be looking at the WRC contenders times and seeing where we are, you can’t help doing that but the main focus is to see a visible uplift in pace from last year in the Fiesta. It’s a tough event, but one I’ve been looking forward to for some time”.

Yates is sponsored by Brettex, Michelin Motorsport, Jordan Road Surfacing, Draper Tools, Rallynuts, Rainworth Skoda, Nicky Grist Motorsport, H&F Furniture, NGK Spark Plugs and Protyre.

Image credit: Jakob Ebrey

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