Coates sets new lap record at Brands Hatch finale on the way to 4th in UK Clio Cup
North Yorkshire’s Max Coates set a new lap record at the Brands Hatch GP circuit in Kent at the weekend, an 8th and 9th place finish giving the Harron Homes sponsored driver 4th in the Renault UK Clio Cup Championship.
Coates actually finished 5th on the road in both races but was given a time penalties for exceeding track limits and for overtaking another driver after making the slightest of contact. In race one the Clements Limited sponsored Ciceley Motorsport driver claimed a new lap record on lap 5 of the race, nearly 1 second faster than the previous best time set by the 2017 British Touring Car Champion, Ashley Sutton, in 2015. Despite falling back to 6th place at the start Coates moved the Primex Plastics and PLASgran Recycling car into 5th on lap 3 and closed in on the leading battle. However, he was unable to challenge and move higher up the order.
In the second race of the weekend, screened live on ITV4, Coates knew he needed a strong result to improve his championship position. With 2nd still achievable he set about gaining the most
points possible. Involved in a race long battle, Coates managed to get into 5th place on lap 3 with the same move he made the day before. Unfortunately his competitor and championship rival didn’t leave a enough space for Max’s car on the inside at Paddock Hill bend and the resulting contact moved his rival to 9th. After the race Max was given a 2 second time penalty to reverse the overtake which resulted in a 9th placed finish. This also dropped the JT Atkinson sponsored driver to 4th in the championship instead of 3rd.
A disappointed Coates said “Setting a new lap record around such an iconic circuit is a massive achievement, to take it from Ash, the new BTCC champion makes it all the more special. I have really enjoyed my second season in the UK Clio Cup but feel very disappointed and let down in the judicial system which I feel has cost me 2nd in the championship this year. In the second half of the season especially we have proven that we have been the fastest car in races and I think second in the championship would have been a real reflection of our achievements this year. I’d like to thank the whole of the Ciceley Motorsport team and my sponsors for their support throughout the season.”
“As for next year’s plans I am aiming for a drive in the British Touring Car Championship and will be very busy over the coming months to secure the sponsorship to make the transition. That said, a third season in the UK Clio Cup would present a real opportunity to win the championship.”
Following a return to full time racing with two fantastic seasons in the Renault UK Clio Cup, Max is hoping to announce some short-term and 2018 racing plans in the near future.