Photo (credit Jakob Ebrey Photography): Max Coates finishing on the podium in the MINI CHALLENGE UK at Snetterton
Snetterton in Norfolk played host to the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at the weekend, with rounds ten and eleven of the MINI CHALLENGE UK in support. Yorkshire’s Max Coates was in action in his Elite Motorsport run car.
Testing had gone well on Friday with Coates showing front running pace in both dry and wet conditions around the three-mile circuit. He was therefore hopeful of a strong qualifying session and the Primex Plastics sponsored driver was in 3rd position for the majority, but was pipped at the end and fell to 6th.
In race one the JiC Transport sponsored car stayed in 6th at turn one but lost out as the grid bunched up at the Wilson Hairpin. 7th at the end of lap one he began to challenge the driver in front, former Champion Ant Whorton-Eales, however he lost out as a result of his efforts. He then had to pass Jack Davidson around the outside at the ultra-high speed Brundle and Nelson Chicane. It didn’t work out as his rival got the place back on the exit and forced Coates out allowing Davidson’s teammate through too. Coates immediately pounced back straight away passing Callum King at turn one and then setting about catching Davidson again. He did, and with three laps to go passed Davidson again around the outside at the Brundle / Nelson complex. Coates tried to pull in Whorton-Eales in front but didn’t have time to do so in his Cirrus Research backed car and crossed the line 7th.
Race two was shown LIVE on ITV4 as part of the BTCC programme. Coates in his NGK Spark Plugs sponsored car remained 4th at turn one and was part way through a move to the podium positions at turn two when the yellow flags came out preventing any overtaking. A first lap safety car then bunched the cars back up and at the restart the leader lost control. Coates got through and went from 4th to 2nd as the cars scrambled to avoid the sliding car. In doing so Coates was forced onto the grass and in the process lost ground on the leader. Just as he caught him, with a gap opening up to 3rd place the safety car was deployed. At the restart Coates fended off an attack from behind and again set about trying to pass for the lead. With just three laps remaining Coates didn’t have long and he tried for a pass at every available opportunity, but the gap just didn’t open up. Coates crossed the line just 0.144 off the win.
Alongside Cirrus Research, AJT Estimating joined Max’s newest partners Delta Works, BOSS Fabrication, BTCC Yorkshire Army and TeamKarting.co.uk allowing Max to race following the loss of one of his major partners earlier in the season.
After he commented, “I’m really pleased to have got back on the podium at Snetterton this weekend, it feels great to reward the team and my partners with this result. The win wasn’t far away, but Isaac Smith was just a bit quicker than me in two corners which gave him the gap he needed to keep me behind where I was stronger. I’m hoping we can finish the season strongly at Brands Hatch, a circuit I absolutely love.”
The series now heads to the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent for the final rounds of the season on the 14th and 15th November.
2020 MINI CHALLENGE UK Season Calendar:
1. Donington Park National – 1st & 2nd August
2. Knockhill – 29th & 30th August
3. Silverstone – 26th & 27th September
4. Snetterton – 24th and 25th October
5. Brands Hatch Indy – 14th & 15th November