Having rallied both a Škoda Fabia R5 and Hyundai i20 R5 in 2019, Rhys Yates will contest a full WRC 2 season this year in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 MkII.

The 27-year old Chesterfield driver starts his season at Rallye Monte Carlo, where he finished fourth in class last year.

“This is a hugely exciting opportunity for me,” says Rhys. “Everybody in rallying, everybody in motorsport, knows about M-Sport’s history, heritage and pedigree. These are the guys who made such amazing names as Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz and Marcus Grönholm. To have the chance to drive for M-Sport is massive for me.

“Our precise calendar’s still being finalised, but it’s a full WRC 2 programme starting with Monte Carlo and including the other events we did last season [Sweden, Portugal, Wales and Germany] to build on that experience. We’ll also do two more European rounds and one long haul in either Mexico or Japan.

“Going back to Monte Carlo is great and that event is just one example of where M-Sport’s experience and knowledge will pay dividends and really help me. M-Sport has been a constant, running Ford’s effort in the WRC, since 1997. If anybody knows what’s coming in the French Alps later this month, it’s M-Sport and to have access to that data and understanding is invaluable.

“Driving for M-Sport is a real launchpad for me this year.”

During his rookie season in the WRC, Rhys finished in the top five on two of the six events he started – and posted ever-improving times in both a Škoda Fabia R5 (Rallye Monte Carlo, Rally Sweden, Tour of Corsica, Rally of Portugal and Rally Germany) and Hyundai i20 R5 (Wales Rally GB).

“I learned a lot last year, and I know I’ve got a lot more to learn in the year ahead, but I’m looking forward to pushing for more pace, performance and hopefully some podiums,” added Yates. “Some of the guys we’re competing against have been running in these rallies for years and we can’t rival that kind of experience. What I can do is learn lots, push myself and enjoy working with world champions.”

Rhys Yates wear a Stilo WRC DES Carbon Piuma helmet and bespoke P1 Advanced Racewear suit supplied by Nicky Grist Motorsports.

Škoda Fabia R5 and Hyundai i20 R5 in 2019, Rhys Yates will contest a full WRC 2 season this year in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 MkII.