Rhys Yates says he was “really chuffed” to win the first eSports WRC Shootout on Thursday evening.
WRC2 driver Yates defeated Marco Bulacia Wilkinson in the final of the competition that took place over four nights this week where 11 real-life drivers competed in the WRC8 based event using stages from Rally Argentina.
Drivers including Yates, Wilkinson, Oliver Solberg, Adrien Fourmaux and Pierre-Louis Loubet were all part of the shootout that was set up to help the fans of the championship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The live streamed event also encouraged some friendly competition amongst some of the young guns in the WRC at the time where the real-life championship should have been in South America before the coronavirus epidemic forced the event to be postponed.
A delighted Yates said on his victory: “I’m really chuffed. I wasn’t sure about this in the beginning. If I’m going to do something, whether it’s playing six-a-side football or going a bike ride with my brother, I’ve got to win. I know there are a lot of really good and fast gamers out there.”
“I’ve got to be honest, (when practicing) a couple of times I was absolutely flying and going really well and I was sat there thinking: “This is it, Rhys, you’ve got this nailed… then I’d touch a bump or a rock and have a big accident. Trust me, the PS4 nearly went through the window on a couple of occasions!”
After being one of the fastest eight drivers on the qualifying stage on Monday night, Yates went on to beat M-Sport Ford teammate Fourmaux and Junior WRC driver Raul Badiu on his route to the final.
Speaking about the two-stage finale, he added: “It’s funny. To start with, much as I wanted to win, I was quite relaxed about things. But waiting on the start line in the final I was really nervous.”
“In the final we were going head-to-head, so I’d changed my approach from going absolutely flat chat to make my best possible time and now I was more focused on getting to the finish with no mistakes. There was one shot.”
“(It) was mint. I haven’t driven a rally car competitively since February, so getting to this level of competition – where I absolutely knew I couldn’t make a mistake – really sharpened the focus up again.”
Games such as WRC8 and DiRT Rally 2.0 have provided some much-needed rallying relief for fans around the world in recent weeks due to the current situation with several eSports competitions all taking place.