M-Sport Ford will run a pair of EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5 MkIIs in the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support series this year – Britain’s Rhys Yates teaming up with Adrien Fourmaux for a full campaign in the WRC 2 category.
Yates announced his programme at Autosport International, and will contest eight events behind the wheel of M-Sport’s latest global rally car. Getting his season underway at the season opener in Monte-Carlo, the Englishman will be partnered by Welsh co-driver James Morgan.
Yates learned his craft on two wheels, competing through his teenage years on and off-road at a high level of bike racing – before switching to rallying in 2013.
Once installed in a rally car, he progressed rapidly through the ranks at home, winning the English Rally Championship title at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R2 in his first full season in the sport (2015). Since then, the 27-year-old has been at the forefront of British rallying – he also became the first Brit to win Rally van Wervik in Belgium in 2018.
Yates stepped up to the world stage for a six-round WRC 2 campaign in 2019 and made an immediate impression on the established order, finishing fourth on his maiden Rallye Monte-Carlo and fifth on his first visit to the Tour de Corse.
Year two of his world-stage campaign is about building on that experience and further demonstrating burgeoning speed at the sport’s highest level.
Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“It’s great to welcome Rhys into the team and I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops over the course of the year. He has the work ethic to go far, and I know that he and James will put everything into their programme to ensure they realise their potential. Having gained good knowledge of a number of events last year, he’s ready to mount a challenge for the top results and we plan to help him achieve that goal.”
Rhys Yates said:
“Walking through the doors at Dovenby Hall you can’t fail to be impressed and humbled by the history and performance created in those buildings. It’s an amazing place and a real honour to be driving in the M-Sport Ford team this year.
“I know I’ve still got stuff to learn in this sport, but M-Sport’s just the best place to do that learning. I’m looking forward to being able to lean on that experience and knowledge. I’m also looking forward to getting my head down, putting some times in and chasing some results.
“Last year was all about finding my feet at the next level. I did that, stuck to the plan and I was really pleased with the times we made in the target stages. Now it’s the time to move forward again and I’m delighted to be doing that in a Ford Fiesta R5 MkII with a team of world champions helping me.”