Rhys Yates believes driving for M-Sport Ford will be a ‘launchpad’ for his career after being confirmed in its WRC 2 line-up at the Autosport International show in Birmingham on Thursday afternoon.
The 27-year-old Briton and co-driver James Morgan will crew a Fiesta R5 in the team’s second-string line-up as team-mates to Frenchman Adrien Fourmaux.
Yates will contest eight rounds, beginning at the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo (23 - 26 January), where he finished fourth in the category 12 months ago.
“Driving for M-Sport is a real launchpad for me this year,” said Yates. “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.
“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.
“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.”
Last year was the first full WRC 2 programme for the former motorcycle and motocross rider, who won the English Rally Championship in 2015, and his exact 2020 schedule is still to be settled.
“It’s a full WRC 2 programme starting with Monte-Carlo and including the other events we did last season (Sweden, Portugal, Britain and Germany) to build on that experience. We’ll also do two more European rounds and one long-haul, in either Mexico or Japan,” he said.
Team principal Rich Millener believes Yates has the work ethic to build a successful career.
“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,” said Millener.