MAX COATES took a win and a second place in last weekend’s two Renault UK Clio Cup rounds at Donington Park, but it was a dramatic day for the Scorton driver who experienced highs and lows throughout.
Coates set the early pace in pre-event testing, only to be pipped to top spot by 0.003 seconds within the final minute of the first practice session. Hopes were high leading into qualifying, but a session with a red flag prevented the Yorkshireman from a front row slot for the races.
That proved a blessing for the first race as the front two rows were involved in a dramatic crash that immediately halted proceedings. Coates was tagged by another driver at the next corner, resulting in him entering the gravel trap. He was able to re-join the grid and take the restart, and was in third position when the cars ahead tangled. As a result, he moved into second place and eventually inherited the race win after a penalty was applied to the on-track winner.
The delayed second race got underway in dry conditions, and Coates immediately moved through to fourth position at the start. He then managed an overtake on the outside at the Craner Curves, and after a delay with a safety car, launched an attack on Paul Rivett in second who made a mistake and collided with his team mate Lee Pattison.
The incident brought out the red flag to end the race, with Coates declared the winner. However, Rivett was later reinstated in the results and declared the winner after he was able to drive out of the gravel trap.
Coates said: “The weekend was unlike any other I have experienced in my career. I’m very pleased with my results which have put us right back in the mix for the championship, but I am disappointed not to have won the second race as I feel I deserved it.”
THE second round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship took place at Lydden Hill on Easter Monday and saw Northallerton’s Paige Bellerby maintain her 100 per cent record with victory in the SuperNational class.
The 21-year-old was battling for the lead in the final in her Lotus Exige with local ace Tristan Ovenden when his car expired leaving Bellerby to take the spoils after achieving similar success at Croft last month. Following Bellerby home was the Peugeot 206 of East Harlsey’s Guy Corner, who made up for the disappointment of retiring in the opening round.
In the Swift Junior class, Tom Constantine from Richmond was fastest in the opening two qualifying races to secure pole position, but could only finish in third with his cousin, Dalton-on-Tees’ James Constantine, finishing sixth.
NORTHALLERTON’S Ethan Hammerton has made the perfect start to the 2017 season having recorded two wins in the first two rounds of the Junior Saloon Car Championship.
The 16-year-old took victory in the opening round at Silverstone in his Walter Thompson Contractors-sponsored Citroen Saxo, and finished fourth in race two to leave with the series lead going into the next round at Rockingham.
DURHAM driver Guy Wilks heads to Portugal this weekend aiming to add to the points he scored in the opening round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Spain earlier this month.
The Loco Energy and Karting North East-backed driver took the VW Polo to seventh place in Barcelona, and is hoping for another good run at the 1.5km Montalegre circuit.