It was Coates who set the fastest lap of all to grab the pole for race one – decided by each driver’s best lap in qualifying. Ultimately he set a time of one minute, 17.482 seconds – a comfortable 0.202s clear of the rest – to secure his first UK Clio Cup pole for what will be only his third race in the championship…
Second to him on best laps was Team Cooksport’s Lee Pattison, the current championship leader. Whorton-Eales was third with WDE Motorsport’s three-time Champion Paul Rivett fourth. Finesse Motorsport’s Paul Streather (Hinckley) and WDE’s Charles Ladell completed the top six.
Race two’s grid – decided on second best laps – took on a different look, however. Whorton-Eales came out on top by just 0.035s from Pattison then Rivett, Streather and Team Cooksport’s George Jackson in fifth. Coates this time was sixth.
Notably the top 19 on race one’s grid were covered by less than a second. And it was the top 21 for race two. Both grids boast 24 cars – the biggest entry for a UK Clio Cup event since 2013. Donington Park this weekend also marks 25 years since the first UK Clio Cup race was held in April 1991. Tomorrow’s action, part of Donington’s big Dunlop British Touring Car Championship event, will be shown live on ITV4 as part of the channel’s wall-to-wall coverage from 10.30am-6.15pm.
A jubilant Coates commented: “We knew after Thursday’s test we were in the ballpark and I just got the perfect lap together when it mattered most. It’s going to be very interesting racing against the likes of Pattison, Whorton-Eales and Rivett tomorrow as they all have huge experience of the UK Clio Cup but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Whorton-Eales, fastest in Thursday’s official test and the Donington lap record holder, said: “Third and a pole… that’s not bad. I was P1 for most of the session until getting pipped by Pattison and Coates near the end and when I tried to respond I had a bit of traffic to contend with so it didn’t quite work out. But it’s tomorrow that matters most. That’s when we’ll try and sort it out.”
Pattison added: “We’re right in there again off the back of a very good weekend for us at Brands Hatch a fortnight ago. The front row of the grid for both races will do me fine… although I thought I did have pole for race one until Max popped in that fast one right near the end!”
CLICK HERE for full qualifying times plus speed trap figures and sector analysis.
Leading qualifying times, Renault UK Clio Cup, Round 3, Donington Park
1. Max Coates (Ciceley Motorsport), 1m17.482s
2. Lee Pattison (Team Cooksport), +0.202s
3. Ant Whorton-Eales (JamSport with AWE Motorsport), +0.234s
4. Paul Rivett (WDE Motorsport), +0.370s
5. Paul Streather (Finesse Motorsport), +0.432s
6. Charles Ladell (WDE Motorsport), +0.432s
7. Mike Bushell (Team Pyro), +0.445s
8. George Jackson (Team Cooksport), +0.475s
9. David Dickenson (Team Pyro), +0.496s
10. Ollie Pidgley (Ciceley Motorsport), +0.525s
Leading qualifying times, Renault UK Clio Cup, Round 4, Donington Park
1. Whorton-Eales, 1m17.770s
2. Pattison, +0.035s
3. Rivett, +0.095s
4. Streather, +0.123s
5. Jackson, +0.190s
6. Coates, +0.220s
7. Bushell, +0.228s
8. Ladell, +0.306s
9. Luke Kidsley (JamSport Racing), +0.342s
10. Daniel Rowbottom (Team Ecomotive with Finesse), +0.459s