Chesterfield rally driver Rhys Yates will make a return to the British Rally Championship in 2021 with the full intention of taking the title in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2.
Yates, who took third overall at last year’s Cambrian Rally and secured fourth overall in the 2017 and 2018 BRC standings, will mount his first full championship campaign since tackling the FIA World Rally Championship and believes he is in the right frame of mind to secure the coveted BRC title.
“I`m really excited to come back to the BRC, have some fun and aim for the win whilst we are at it,” says Yates.
“The British Championship package is absolutely spot on and works well for us. It fits perfectly with work commitments and the calendar of events has a really good spread this year. I`m in a really good place with the Fiesta as well, it feels mega and I`m buzzing to get going”.
Yates is no stranger to the BRC tour, having impressed on the return of the series in 2016 and would then progress into the world tour and WRC2 category in 2019. That experience changed his outlook on the sport, and not necessarily for the better.
“The World Rally Championship was crazy” he says. “You have to live and breathe the championship and spend two weeks a month preparing, working on the event and then competing. There is big pressure and you literally live in the car. It wasn’t healthy and it changed the way I felt about rallying for a while.”
Returning to the UK was the turning point and Yates feels he has found his feet in the BRC.
“I needed to take a step back and look at what I was doing and why I was doing it. Covid forced us all to stop of course and that break was just what I needed, I needed change and that came at the Return to M-Sport Stages last year. Going to Greystoke with the pressure was off was great. I was relaxed and all of a sudden the enjoyment returned, it was my best ever drive. Beating the likes of Adrian Fourmaux was probably proof that I was in a better place confirmed that I drive much better when I`m enjoying myself”.
Yates won the opening round of the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship at Snetterton earlier this month and with the first BRC round at Oulton Park, feels he is in the box seat for the opener.
“It’s going to be close there and it will be my strong point for sure. The shorter stages really mean there won’t be big gaps so it should be fun. The competition for the BRC sounds like it’s as tough as ever but I`m ready to get going and go for the win – bring it on.”