Coates not giving up on title hopes heading into Rockingham rounds

Max Coates is refusing to give up in his chase of Mike Bushell and Ant Whorton-Eales for this year’s Renault UK Clio Cup title but concedes this weekend’s rounds at Rockingham will be crucial to his hopes.
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The North Yorkshireman heads to the Northants circuit third in the standings, 53 points behind leader Bushell but that comes down to 41 on dropped scores when Whorton-Eales moves to the top.

For good measure his Ciceley Motorsport machine will be carrying ITV Sport’s on board camera which will broadcast live images to living rooms nationwide when Sunday’s race is shown live on ITV4.

And he pointed to Snetterton’s recent rounds as proof of just how fast fortunes can change in a championship as unpredictable as the UK Clio Cup.

“Race one and I had all three of my main rivals – Bushell, Ant and Paul Rivett – clattered into each other right in front of me and two of them retired. Maybe they can do that again for me this weekend and I can catch it for everyone on the ITV on-board! Things can change in the blink of an eye,” commented Coates.

“Race two as well there… it looked inconceivable that Bushell wouldn’t finish on the podium given his recent record and also his pace there but suddenly he was outside the top three. It looked briefly as if I could take points out of him but instead it was Ant and I got elbowed back to fifth.

“It is just so unbelievably competitive at the front and although you expect those three to be making the pace it seems at every event there are always at least three or four other drivers able to get in there and mix it up.

“So although I’d always prefer to have points in the bag I also know it’s not over yet but Rockingham’s races are definitely going to be important in all this. I’m also in a position where I have to go for it whereas Bushell and Ant might not want to take such big risks given what they could lose…”

Coates knows, though, that after Rockingham’s two races only four rounds remain – two each at Silverstone and Brands Hatch – and therefore he ideally needs to eat into the gap this weekend.

“Every race that goes by now when I don’t take points out of them of course makes it that bit more difficult,” he added.

“But we’ve got a great finishing record and are always right on the pace in race trim.

“In a way we are the underdogs and that’s nice as there is no pressure. It’s still all to play for as far as I’m concerned…”