17/07/2017

Coates says 2017 title outcome is now in Bushell’s hands

Max Coates believes he can out-score Mike Bushell in the second half of this year’s Renault UK Clio Cup season but says the destiny of the title is now firmly with the Team Pyro driver…
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Ciceley Motorsport ace Coates will arrive at Snetterton, Norfolk (29-30 July) fourth in the current standings, some 104 points adrift of championship leader Bushell.

But with more than 270 points still up for grabs in the remaining eight rounds – two each at Snetterton, Rockingham, Silverstone and Brands Hatch – Coates remains upbeat about his chances.

“I go into the second half of the season 100 per cent believing I can still win this,” said Coates.

“Mike hasn’t made a mistake or had an off weekend yet, but how many times does a driver go the whole season without something happening along the way?

“The law of averages says he will have a bad race or weekend at some point and it is going to need that to happen for the rest to catch him. All I can do is try to win every race… the rest is up to him.

“Obviously it can go wrong very quickly as he found out in last year’s final two rounds. So a bad weekend for him and two wins for me… suddenly it’s down to about 40 points and not so insurmountable then.”

Coates though has praise for Bushell who has won five of the ten rounds so far and started eight of them from pole position. Only once has he finished off the podium.

“It’s not by coincidence he’s achieved what he has,” added Coates. “He has been the best driver in the first half, but I believe I can out-score him in the second half.”

And Coates believes he knows where at least some of the ground has been lost.

He reflected: “I threw some points away at Brands Hatch with a mistake; at Donington I felt we should have had two wins but it got decided otherwise – that would have put us second in the table; at Thruxton we needed a tow like the others which cost us in qualifying; at Oulton I made an error in qualifying; Croft was OK but when I got a chance to go after Mike for the win the gap was just a bit too much to make up because I’d had to come through from row three on the grid.

“It’s little things which make a big difference when it’s in a championship as close as this.

“Credit to Mike, though. He’s done the business in qualifying and been making the most of it. I’m sure we can get on terms with him from Snetterton onwards and we’re going to have some very good races together.”