British rally start Rhys Yates is ready to race in this weekend’s Gymkhana GRiD 2019. Yates will be making his debut to the event in a Hyundai i20 R5 rally car.
It’s the same car that Britain’s joint-most successful Olympian, Sir Chris Hoy, will race in Warsaw on Saturday and Yates is looking forward to working alongside one of Britain’s greatest athletes.
“Everybody knows about Sir Chris Hoy,” said Rhys. “I’ve been one of the millions of Brits on the other side of the TV supporting him as he powered off the bend in Beijing or London to another Olympic gold medal.
“With both of us hiring Hyundais for the event, we’ll be running them out of the same [service] area. The chance to share set-up information and work a little bit with an elite athlete who has made a successful transition to motorsport is really special for me.
“Too often these days, we talk about legends – but Sir Chris Hoy fits that description perfectly. Much as he’s known for what he’s done on a bike, he’s competed at Le Mans and [Britain’s first World Rally Champion, fellow Scot] Colin McRae is one of his heroes. I think we’re going to get on fine!”
Yates admits that it will be a big step into the unknown and a substantial difference from the World Rally Championship WRC 2 category that he is currently racing in.
“I’ve never competed at Gymkhana GRiD before, never been to Poland and never driven a Hyundai in competition. It’s going to be an interesting week”
The 2015 English Rally Champion will also have to get used to a new car and admits that there will be a lot to learn during and going into the event.
“Like the event, the Hyundai i20 R5 is a new experience for me. I tested the car in Wales earlier this year and I was really impressed. That test was on a typically fast, flowing gravel rally stages – very different conditions to the tight, twisty Tarmac venue we’ll be using in Warsaw this week.
“I’m hoping to get a test out in Poland on Wednesday. Even if it’s just a quick run out on Tarmac, it would help give me an idea of what to expect in terms of things like the grip. And it’ll remind me where the handbrake is – I expect I’ll be using that a fair bit this week.”
He also added, “To be honest I’m going out there to have some fun and once I get my eye in and start sliding around stuff, it’ll be fine. It’ll be a blast.”
Watch out for the young British rally driver in Warsaw this weekend with the Gymkhana GRiD competition taking place this Saturday (7 September).