Coates on top after Knockhill races

Coates on top after Knockhill races

The Renault UK Clio Cup made it’s first trip to Knockhill in four years as Scorton’s Max Coates took to the track leading the championship by 6 points.  He had a successful weekend lifting trophy’s in both races.

The Primex Plastics backed driver took pole position for the weekends first race in a frantic qualifying session which was interrupted by a rain shower.  Coates had posted the fastest time of the session when the rain fell which meant both he, and everyone else, couldn’t go faster.  The rain came about 10 seconds too early for Coates who was on a lap capable of race two pole as well but couldn’t make his normal braking at the final corner.

In race one the RPC bpi PLASgran car got away well and built up a comfortable lead on the opening lap before a safety car effectively restarted the race.  Under pressure from his main championship rival, the Polydist sponsored driver remained calm and never put a wheel out of line to come home the winner by 6 tenths of a second.

In race two which was screened live on ITV4 Max in the Harron Homes backed car didn’t make the best of starts and immediately came under pressure for 2nd place.  On lap four he dropped a wheel on the gravel and lost his position falling back to 3rd.  Two laps later a tap into turn one sent him straight on and fortunately he held control and re-joined still in 3rd place.  He then began a charge back.  The car in front made an error as Max caught him in the RMB Automotive and Bennett Renault backed car, this put Max back into the runner up spot.  Max tried what he could in the final stages to regain the lost time to the leader but couldn’t make it back up, instead having to settle for 2nd.

Afterwards Coates said, “Qualifying and race one was brilliant and really showed our abilities to the full.  The lap in qualifying felt great and I carried that pace and consistency over into race one.  Despite the pressure I kept it smooth and was really happy with my performance.  Race two didn’t got to plan, my reaction to the lights was slow and it allowed Jack to get a gap.  The race didn’t really pan out for me from there so a second place was a good result.  The Team HARD Racing guys have done a great job this weekend and I’d like to thank my sponsors for the continued support in pursuit of the Renault UK Clio Cup title.”

Knockhill’s races can be watched back via the BTCC ITV Motorsport website; The Clio Cup will continue at Silverstone, Northamptonshire on the 28th and 29th of September.  Coates will qualify on the Saturday before round fifteen takes place on Saturday afternoon, both sessions can be followed via TSL Live Timing.  The second race of the weekend, round sixteen, will be screened live on ITV4, at 13:40 on the Sunday afternoon.

Coates stars in Thruxton thrillers

Coates stars in Thruxton thrillers

Max Coates went into event number six of the Renault UK Clio Cup with a six point championship advantage and left with exactly the same gap, however every lap at the UK’s fastest motor racing venue was full of action.

The Primex Plastics backed driver showed his pace in qualifying, taking 2nd on the grid for race one and pole for race two.

In race one the RPC bpi PLASgran car was embroiled in a five way tussle for the lead with positions swapped at almost every corner. Coates crossed the line in second but was initially promoted to 1st due to a jump start penalty for the winner on the road. Subsequently Coates was given a 0.1 second penalty for cutting the chicane and gaining an unfair advantage, meaning he took 2nd place.

Race two, live on ITV4, continued in a similar fashion with more wheel to wheel racing, the Clio Cup action ranking among the best of the BTCC event renowned for its close racing. Coates, starting from pole position in his Harron Homes and Polydist sponsored car, was the early race leader which swapped between himself, championship rival Jack Young and Ben Colburn. The rest of the field were in hot pursuit and with two laps remaining any one of five cars were in a position to take the win.  Coates in the RMB Automotive car lead into the last lap and final chicane but a clash sent him spinning through the foam barriers into retirement, just a short run from the finish line. Coates car wasn’t able to move and unfortunately, he had to watch the win slip away.  After post-race penalties Coates’ Team HARD. Racing stablemate Ethan Hammerton took his first race win.

Afterwards Coates said, “I’m gutted not to have taken a win this weekend after showing such good speed in practice, qualifying and both races, especially after leading to the final corner in race two. The two races this weekend have been first draw entertainment for the drivers, teams and fans, it’s just a shame I wasn’t able to lift a first place trophy at the end.”

Thruxton’s races can be watched back via the BTCC ITV Motorsport website; The Clio Cup will continue at Knockhill, Fife on the 14th and 15th of September, a new circuit to the championship after several seasons missing the popular Scottish venue.  Coates will qualify on the Saturday before round thirteen takes place on Saturday afternoon, both sessions can be followed via TSL Live Timing.  The second race of the weekend, round fourteen, will be screened live on ITV4, at 2:55pm on the Sunday afternoon.

HARD battles give Coates Snetterton win

HARD battles give Coates Snetterton win

Team HARD. Racing’s Max Coates took a win in the Renault UK Clio Cup at Snetterton at the weekend to hold on to his championship lead.

Coates qualified his Primex Plastics and RPC bpi PLASgran sponsored car in 3rd and 2nd positions for the weekends two races respectively, narrowly missing out on two front row starts.  In fact the front three drivers on the gird were separated by less than three tenths of a second for race one and just half a tenth in race two.

The Yorkshireman made a good start in race one but couldn’t make up any places as he entered the first few corners.  He took a watching brief in the early stages until an overtake gone wrong between the leading two cars opened the gap for Coates to pounce.  Immediately up to 2nd the Harron Homes backed driver set-up the move to take the lead at the turn four hairpin passing team-mate Jamie Bond.  Coates looked set to take the win despite constant pressure from Jack Young behind until heavy contact from his chief title rival caused Max to lose the lead.  The damage caused a puncture on the final lap which left Polydist UK sponsored Max to manage the final four turns with very limited grip, crossing the line in a cloud of smoke in 6th place.

In the second race the RMB Automotive and Bennett Renault backed car started well hanging onto 2nd position.    The leader was given a 10 second penalty for a jump start thus promoting Max into the lead early in the race.  Then contact again from his title rival who forced his way past Coates into the then lead of the race.  Coates stayed right with Young to the flag despite battling handling issues caused from the earlier contact.

After the race Coates was awarded the win following a penalty for Young who had been deemed to have gained an unfair advantage in the overtaking move to gain the lead.

Later Coates said, “The race two win has made up for the disappointing finish to race one which got a bit hairy at the end with the puncture.  It’s shaping up to be a very close battle at the front with a number of drivers able to make an impression on the podium.  Thruxton is next and it’s a track I had two podiums at last year, it is the fastest track in the country and it’s always a challenge.”

Max and the team have two weeks to prepare for the Thruxton event down in Hampshire on the 17th and 18th August where the Renault UK Clio Cup will be again supporting the British Touring Cars.  Max will go into the event as the championship leader, just six points ahead, with race two scheduled to be broadcast live on ITV4 at 13:45 on Sunday 18th.

Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey

Coates takes double win at home circuit

Coates takes double win at home circuit

Yorkshireman Max Coates took an emphatic double victory at his home circuit, Croft, at the weekend in the Renault UK Clio Cup.  Watched on by more than one hundred sponsor guests he was the man to beat.

Hailing from Scorton, just five miles from North Yorkshire’s premier motorsport venue Coates needed a strong weekend to put his championship challenge back on track.  After a challenging test day on Friday he broke the circuit lap record on Saturday morning during qualifying, putting his Primex Plastics backed car in pole position for both of the weekend’s races.

Race one was held in wet conditions which changed minutes before the race.  His Team-HARD mechanics did a quick change to wet tires and set-up which worked well.  He made a good start and put a small gap over his nearest rival gradually pulling away in the early laps.  His opponent then spun leaving Max in his RPC bpi PLASgran sponsored car over twenty seconds in front at the chequered flag.

On a dry circuit Coates again started from pole position in-front of a capacity crowd on Sunday, challenged at turn one he managed to hold on to the lead.  As the race developed his nearest rival lunged past on the entry to the fast ‘Sunny In’ corner, however his fellow competitor had just received a ten second jump start penalty which promoted the RMB Automotive and Bennett Renault backed driver back into the lead.  He then knew sitting in second place would be enough to take the win with a huge crowd of local motor racing fans watching on Coates crossed the line to take the second win of the weekend and extend his lead in the championship*.

It was also a significant weekend for the racing driver as his sponsors RMB Automotive launched a limited-edition Max Coates 71 Renault Clio road car.  He also had another ten sponsors joining him at the weekend through his sponsor a tyre scheme.

Coates said, “What a weekend, two poles, two wins, the fastest ever lap in a Renault Clio, 160 guests, 10 new sponsors and a new road car in my name.  I’ve loved every second of it and I’m so grateful for the support I’ve had from my team, sponsors, family, friends and supporters.  Saturday’s result was particularly pleasing to have such a big lead at the flag but the cheer on the podium on Sunday was probably the highlight for me.  Thank you to everyone who made it a weekend to remember.”

Max’s sponsor a tyre partners were JT Atkinson Builders Merchants, Green Bricks Building Solutions, Alpamare Water Park, Northern Handling Systems, Park Gate & Company, Dinsdale Contracts, Workshop Supplies, Upex Electrical, Rapid Colour and Aycliffe Engineering.

The championship now heads to Oulton Park in Cheshire, where Max won last year.  He will be hopeful of more race wins in his quest to become the 2019 champion.  In between Coates will also compete in this weekend’s races of the Britcar Endurance Championship at Oulton Park and the TCR UK / Touring Car Trophy races at Donington Park for the DAT Racing team.

*when the championships dropped score rule is applied.

Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey

Donington disappointment turns to delight in pit-lane to podium bounce-back

Donington disappointment turns to delight in pit-lane to podium bounce-back

Max Coates scored a podium finish in the Renault UK Clio Cup at the weekend in the championships second event of the season held at Donington Park. It wasn’t without a mixture in fortunes for the Yorkshireman who experienced a number of setbacks during the weekend.

The early championship leader qualified his Primex Plastics and RPC bpi PLASgran car second on the grid for the weekends two races as conditions dried out at the Derbyshire venue. It wasn’t all plain sailing however, as tape covering an air vent to prevent the windscreen steaming up in wet conditions was left on when he switched to slick racing tires for the qualification session. Whilst no competitive advantage was gained Coates and two other cars were excluded from the results of qualifying for a ‘technical infringement’. The penalty meant starting from the back of the grid with a 10 second penalty.

Whilst Coates pace was evident, he had a lot of work to do to propel his Harron Homes and Polydist sponsored car into a strong finishing position. Electing to start from pit-lane negated his 10 second penalty, Coates, significantly helped by an early safety car, romped through the field to sit in 3rd place on lap eight. Coates luck was certainly out, a stone hit his auxiliary belt at just the wrong point causing it to snap and the engines water pump to stop working. The engines temperature soared and forced the RMB Automotive and Bennett Renault backed car into retirement.

Coates had to start from the pit-lane again in race two and this time, live on ITV4, he had to do the work all himself. Without safety car help he scythed through to third on lap ten having run side by side for several corners with various drivers. With four laps to go Coates set about trying to get fastest lap in the final stages as he held on to his podium finish to the chequered flag.

Afterwards Coates said “It’s been a weekend of disappointment, the punishment in qualifying put us firmly on the back foot and knowing we had the pace to challenge for the lead and not being able to do so is very frustrating. I felt like a second place may have been on the cards in race one but it wasn’t to be, it’s our first mechanical retirement in three and a bit years in the Clio Cup which is testament to my mechanics abilities as this one was purely down to ‘bad luck’. I had a lot of fun battling through the field and I am definitely looking forward to pushing for race wins at my home race at Croft. I’d like to thank all my sponsors for their support throughout the weekend and hope I repaid theirs, and Team HARD’s efforts with the podium result.”

The championship now enters a month and half break before it’s next rounds at Croft, North Yorkshire, on the 15th / 16th June. Max will compete in the Britcar Endurance Championship with DAT Racing in the break at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit and GP version of the Donington Park circuit on the 11th May and 1st June respectively. He is also set to announce the return of his ‘sponsor a tyre’ sponsorship scheme where local business can get onboard for the local round of the championship.

Max Coates – Team Hard – Clio Cup

Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey

Champion Jamie Bond will contest the remainder of the 2019 Renault UK Clio Cup season with Team HARD.

Champion Jamie Bond will contest the remainder of the 2019 Renault UK Clio Cup season with Team HARD.

Following on from the teams departure from the Volkswagen Racing Cup series earlier this month, the team are delighted to announce that reigning Volkswagen Racing Cup champion Jamie Bond will be making the step up into the Renault UK Clio Cup for the remaining rounds of the season.

Bond won last year’s VW Cup title for Tony Gilham’s squad but will now move into the Clio Cup with it starting at this coming weekend’s third and fourth rounds of 2019 at Donington Park.

The 25-year-old, backed by Oakleaf Heating and Wrightsure Insurance, commented: “It’s been quite a late deal and my first run in the car will be during tomorrow’s (Thursday) two pre-event test sessions!

“I’m also respectful of the grid – the drivers on it are at the top of their game.

“A new championship and a new car… it is going to be a big learning curve but I’ve got high expectations of myself after what I’ve achieved before. As the season unfolds I’d certainly hope to be in the running for a couple of wins and podiums.”

Currently Team HARD leads the drivers’ standings with Max Coates and also the teams’ championship thanks to the efforts of its other drivers Jade Edwards and Ethan Hammerton.

Team HARD Principal Tony Gilham said: “We’re very excited that Jamie will be in a fourth car for us on the Clio Cup grid.

“He’s come up through our system having been involved in our scholarship in 2015 and then the VW Cup title with us last year. He’s also tested our British Touring Car Championship car and shown himself to be very capable – the BTCC is where he wants to be so this is a great shop window moment for him to show what he’s capable of in front of the live ITV cameras and very big race day crowds.”

This weekend’s two Clio Cup races take place on Sunday (28 Apr) at Donington and action from them will be shown during ITV4’s comprehensive live coverage of the day which also includes the latest rounds of the BTCC.