Photo credit: (Jakob Ebrey Photography) Max Coates got his championship challenge back on track at Brands Hatch by finishing on the podium in race two and dominating a wet race three
Max Coates needed a strong weekend at the second round of the MINI Challenge UK season at Brands Hatch and he did just that. In his Primex Plastics sponsored car, Yorkshireman Max Coates was the fastest driver in damp and wet conditions in Sunday’s two races as the hot hatch race series supported the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at the Kent venue.
Following Friday’s test sessions Coates qualified his JiC Transport backed car in 7th position, just over half a second from pole. Saturday’s race was held late in the afternoon in sunny weather conditions. After a battle with several cars in the early stages the Graves Motorsport driver was running in 6th position mid-race but was overtaken by his team-mate in the latter laps and he finished in 7th.
Racing in support of the BTCC meant a large crowd for Sunday’s two races which looked as though they would be held in wet conditions. The rain stopped as the cars went to the grid on slick racing tires for the first race. With a drying track, the rain began to sprinkle again as the cars started their warm up laps. Fortunately, the rain stopped and Coates relished the opportunity to gain three places on the first lap. He mounted pressure on the reigning champion who occupied the final podium spot but ultimately couldn’t get past. Late in the race a driver in front ran wide onto the slippery part of the track and through the gravel trap gifting Coates a podium finish. Max also set the races fastest lap as the podium battle closed on the leader in the final stages.
The final race of the weekend was held in full wet conditions and again Coates was a man on the move. Starting from second on the grid he immediately pounced on the race leader and gained the lead twice throughout the first lap. By the end of the second lap he was nearly 2 seconds clear at the front of the race. Despite two safety car periods Coates soaked up the pressure and was over a second a lap faster than his nearest rival when the race restarted. The race finished when another driver had crashed which handed Coates a convincing win.
An ecstatic Coates said, “The two races on Sunday have been so much fun, I felt fast all the time and really enjoyed the damp and wet conditions. The team have found a great wet setting which undoubtedly helped me today and to be able to have pace in hand in race three was quite a surprise, but one I enjoyed.”
Max will next be in action at Oulton Park on the 11th and 12th June as the MINI CHALLENGE season continues. Live timing from the event will be available via at tsl-timing.com whilst Max’s Sunday race will be televised live on ITV4 at 14.10.