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Brettex Skoda Fabia R5 driver Rhys Yates will be looking to build on his impressive Rallye Monte Carlo result this week as he heads to round two of the FIA World Rally Championship, Rally Sweden (14th – 17th February).

Yates secured the best result of his career in France last month, clinching fourth place at the opening round of the WRC2 series, overcoming some of the most difficult conditions to enjoy a trouble-free run to finish just shy of the podium on his debut.

Now, the Chesterfield driver will swap the asphalt of the mountainous roads near Monte Carlo for the high snow banks and ice covered stages of Rally Sweden as the series moves to Karlstad for the second round of the WRC2 season.

Having campaigned in the British Rally Championship for the past three years, Yates embarked on selected outings in Europe last season, culminating in the decision to mount a full assault on the World Rally Championship in 2019.

Having only contested WRC events in Spain and here in the UK, Yates will use his inaugural season to build experience as he competes in one of the closest fought categories in the championship. Welshman James Morgan will join him for the remainder of the season after the duo bagged fourth overall at the Ulster Rally last August.

Despite his inexperience of the iconic Rallye Monte Carlo, the 26-year-old driver showed maturity and consistency to bring his Fabia across the finish ramp in the harbour with the perfect start to the season. Now, Yates will continue his steep learning curve by contesting a full snow event for the very first time.

“This really is going to be wildly different from anything I have ever experienced before,” says Yates.

“Monte was really difficult because it was unpredictable. You could be flat out in sixth gear in the sunshine one minute and then turn a corner and go under the trees and be met with snow and ice one the next. I realise snow driving is actually quite complex but the pre-event test should help me to adapt to the car and see how it performs on the ice”.

Rally Sweden will see temperatures of up to minus ten degrees in the region during the week and the stages consist of thick layers of ice and packed snow. Cars are able to use studded tyres which impact into the ice and surprising this makes Sweden one of the fastest rallies on the WRC calendar.

“This event will really be a true test of the car and myself and it will almost be like starting from scratch” he continues.

“A lot of other guys in the series have plenty of experience on the snow so I really don’t have any expectations this week. I know its imperative that I build on my round one result and that will put me a good position going to Tour de Corse at the end of March which is back on asphalt. That said, I do love the challenge that Sweden offers so once I get a little more comfortable in the car then I`ll be keen to push on a little. But getting solid championship points is what I`ll be aiming for”.

Yates is backed by Brettex, Pirelli Motorsport, Rainworth Skoda, Nicky Grist Motorsport and P1 Racewear.

Image credit: Martin Husar

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