British newcomer Rhys Yates made his debut with in the M-Sport WRC2 team at Rallye Monte-Carlo, impressing the team in what some concider the toughest and most technical rally on the calendar.
Yates delievered an inspired and point-scoring result, with a mature and level-headed drive, he took his Ford Fiesta R5 MKII to a fourth place finish in the WRC2 factory class for R5 cars.
His experience from last year where he drove a Škoda Fabia R5 paid off well for 27-year-old Brit.
“There’s no getting away from the fact that the Monte is one very, very tough rally,” Yates said.
“I’m really pleased with the progress I’ve made here. There was so much that was new for me this week, the car, some of the conditions and the tyres. I’d never driven a studded ice tyre on bone-dry Tarmac before, for example. It was pretty wild how much the car breaks away and slides – that was pretty exciting at times.
“Obviously we’ve had a good look at the data and the times and, when the conditions are that bit more consistent and the experience doesn’t matter quite so much, we’re close to where we want to be in terms of the speed. That’s what I came for.”
“When I came to this rally for the first time ever last year, I’d heard so many stories of how this one can bite you really hard. I was a bit tentative at times, almost tip-toeing my way through. Yates continued.
“This time I was more forceful and more aggressive in some of those compromised conditions – that came from the confidence of getting through last year. It was another step forward this week and when we come back next time we’ll have even more experience and more pace.”
“You’re always fairly tense driving on these roads, as much as you’re trying to relax yourself and just drive to the grip beneath you, you find yourself looking at a damp patch and asking. ‘Is that damp or is that black ice?’ When you’re coming down from 100mph on a racing tyre, that can be a pretty big gamble!
“This is the Monte Carlo Rally though, it’s the most famous one in the world and to be here in this amazing place at the finish of such a tough event is a fantastic result. I’m really pleased with the points I’ve got for myself and for M-Sport Ford in WRC 2. Now we look forward to the next one.” Yates added.