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FIA World Rally Championship driver Rhys Yates will make a return to the British Rally Championship, contesting the third round of the series in Carlisle, the Pirelli International Rally (27th April).

The 26-year-old Skoda Fabia R5 pilot from Chesterfield hasn’t contested a round of the British series since October’s Wales Rally GB but will use a lull in the WRC2 calendar to contest the one-day gravel event in the RYR machine. He will be joined by regular co-driver James Morgan for the rally.

Yates had enjoyed two years in the British series before making the leap into the World series this season and has impressed onlookers in his debut year in the highly acclaimed feeder series into the top-flight WRC category. Contesting the European events in the calendar, he has enjoyed an almost dream start to his campaign.

A career-best fourth place at the legendary Rallye Monte Carlo was backed up with tenth at a very difficult Rally Sweden. Yates then went onto secure fifth place on the twisty Tarmac of Corsica which puts him in sixth spot in the WRC2 championship and just five points away from second.

Next up on the World tour will see Yates heading to the rough and undulating gravel stages of Rally Portugal but with that event not taking place until the end of May, he was looking for valuable seat time in the Skoda, and the Pirelli Rally would fit right into his plans.

“It’s been a great start to the season in the WRC but we really need to maintain that momentum, so we need to do all we can to remain match fit for Portugal,” he says.

“We had a day’s test last week in Wales, but nothing compares to competing against some quick drivers to get your eye in so making a return to the BRC whilst we had the chance made perfect sense”.

The Pirelli Rally holds fond memories too, having secured his best BRC result on the event last year.

“I didn’t quite take the win last year, but second place was a great result and really boosted the confidence on what is arguably not my favourite surface. I haven’t been out on gravel since October so it will take some bedding in, but it will be interesting to compare my pace a year later”.

Eight stages are on offer in the legendary Kielder Forest complex which is famed for its blind crests and large ditches to catch up the unwary. But Yates is looking forward to the challenge ahead and getting back amongst the BRC crews.

“There are some new names in the British Championship now but there are also some from 2018 so we know what we need to be doing to be on top. The main priority is to get back into the groove on gravel. It will be an exciting weekend and I`m looking forward to the battle and having some fun without the pressure”.

Yates is backed by Brettex, Pirelli Motorsport, Rainworth Skoda, Nicky Grist Motorsport, H&F Furniture, NGK Spark Plugs and P1 Racewear.

Image credit – Jakob Ebrey Photography

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