Photo (credit to Jakob Ebrey): Max Coates on his way to pole position in the final event of the 2020 MINI CHALLENGE UK season at Brands Hatch
Yorkshire based racing driver Max Coates was back in action at Brands Hatch in Kent for the final rounds of the 2020 MINI CHALLENGE UK, taking a maiden pole position amongst strong top five race results.
The drivers were met with mixed conditions in Friday testing with Coates in the top 6 in both practice sessions. The rain came for Qualifying and Max in his Primex Plastics sponsored car put in the fastest lap of the session with five minutes remaining to take his maiden pole position in the series. With teammate Max Bird in second and also pole positions in the Ginetta Junior and Supercup series for the Elite Motorsport team the atmosphere was very positive heading into the weekends first set of races
Surprisingly it was to be the first wet race of the season, the JiC Transport sponsored car didn’t make the best start. Coates dropped behind his teammate into turn one and then had a huge slide which nearly put him into the gravel. He fell back to 6th place on the opening lap but battled back through to 4th after a third tour of the Brands Hatch Indy circuit. He then began to apply pressure on the podium positions but couldn’t find a way through. His pace fell as the race progressed and he became under pressure from behind, eventually losing a position back to 5th where he remained to the chequered flag.
Race two was shown LIVE on ITV4 as part of the BTCC programme and its title showdown. Coates started 6th in his NGK Spark Plugs and 1BR sponsored car immediately set about gaining positions from the start. Over the first two laps he battled with other drivers and sat in 5th place as the race entered a lengthy safety car period. With just a lap to go after the safety car, Max battled for the final podium spot but came out in 4th position.
After he commented, “It was great to take our first pole position of the season at Brands Hatch and it felt like we were going to end on a real high. Unfortunately, it didn’t go that way in race one and that was all my own doing. I’m pleased with our solid results this weekend and we round out the championship 6th overall. It’s been a pleasure to be part of the Elite Motorsport team this year and I look forward to developing my relationship with them.
This season has been an odd one, the events have lacked the atmosphere I am familiar with at the BTCC and I am hopeful that we can welcome my partners and the fans of the sport back trackside in 2021. I’m hugely grateful to Primex Plastics Ltd, JiC Transport, NGK Spark Plugs, Cirrus Research, CTL Dental, Jackson and Graham Accountants, Teesside Karting and all my sponsors who allow me to continue to pursue my racing career.
I’ll take some time to consider some options for 2021 and make a decision on what racing we plan to do next year alongside my partners.”