Coates in Croft Podium Delight
Harron Homes sponsored racing driver Max Coates took a podium finish in round ten of the Renault UK Clio Cup in front of a huge home crowd at his local circuit, Croft.
Testing for the event was held in dry conditions and the Ciceley Motorsport driver was 5th and 2nd in the two sessions, finishing 4th overall for the day. The weather took a turn for the worse on Saturday as the 20 Clio Cup racers took to the track for Qualifying. Coates set the second best time of the session and courtesy of his second fastest lap, would start the weekend’s second race from 5th position.
The Clements Ltd backed driver started well in race one, after a handful of laps he made his move into the lead. His time out front was short lived as his rivals battled through. Two incidents with other drives cost Coates more places as he slipped back to 6th position at the flag.
Max Coates after coming 2nd in Renault UK Clio Cup at Croft Circuit. Picture: TOM BANKS
Race two was held in cloudy and windy conditions which threatened a rain shower at mid-distance. Again a storming start for the Primex Plastics and PLASgran Recycling car put Max up to 3rd place as the safety car was deployed to clear up a first lap incident. At the restart Max pulled off a switch-back overtake in front of his JT Atkinson hospitality suite, much to the delight of his home crowd. He then set about the task of closing the two second gap to the race and championship leader. He closed, particularly in the final stages and took the fastest lap of the race in the process but was unable to make up the difference, crossing the line just a fraction over half a second behind.
“This weekend has been great on and off the track. We had our best qualifying of the year, lead the first race and were comfortably the fastest in race two. It’s a shame to miss out on the win when we know we were the fastest but I’m pleased with 2nd place and it gives us positive momentum going into the second half of the season. We also had nearly 100 guests on Sunday and 50 on Saturday so it’s been a great weekend for all of my sponsors too.”
As a result Coates leaves his home circuit and enters the summer break 4th in the championship. 104 points separates Max and the series leader, however the championship is long from over. If the BRDC Rising Star can continue and build on his Croft results expect to see him climbing positions throughout the year.
The Renault UK Clio Cup enters its annual seven week summer break with the racing set to resume at Snetterton in Norfolk on the 29th and 30th July, a track where Coates so nearly took a double podium last year.
Photo credit: Neil Sturgeon Photography