Coates won the season’s opening two rounds at Brands Hatch ahead of Young. However, there was some controversy as Young actually crossed the line first in the second of those two races but later picked up a time penalty which demoted him to the runner-up spot behind Coates in the result.
At Donington Park, though, Young struck back with two wins of his own – in doing so he became the youngest race winner in Clio Cup history, aged just over 17 and a half years old.
Two second places there for Young’s team-mate Brett Lidsey meant a pair of dream 1-2 results for their MRM team and with Coates retiring from one of the races there is everything to play for heading to the season’s next two events in June.
These will be at Coates’s home circuit of Croft in North Yorkshire (15-16 June) and then at Oulton Park in Cheshire (29-30 June). Both are among the most demanding on the calendar and trackside crowds of between 30,000-40,000 people are expected at the two fixtures. In addition the Clio Cup action on the Sunday at those events will receive live television coverage on ITV4.
Croft and Oulton will also enable Renault Sport to showcase its latest Mégane R.S. 280 and 300 Trophy models before a sizeable audience.
Meanwhile Brands Hatch’s and Donington Park’s results mean Young leads the standings ahead of Lidsey. Down to third after his Donington retirement, North Yorkshireman Coates therefore needs to score well in front of his home crowd at Croft if he is to keep up the pressure – he has won there twice before.
Coates, whose sponsors include R.S. specialist dealership Bennett of Leeds, said: “It is incredibly tight with Jack in terms of pace and I don’t think my so-called ‘local knowledge’ of Croft will help that much – at this level the top drivers tend to learn a circuit within a handful of laps.
“I’ll need to be on top form and, fingers crossed, we can deliver on home ground. Certainly the support from the crowd at Croft always puts a couple of tenths in my pocket!”
There have been some stellar performances elsewhere in the opening rounds.
Coates’s Team HARD team-mates Jade Edwards, Ethan Hammerton and – on his debut at Donington – Jamie Bond have all come close to a maiden podium result with a fourth apiece.
And achieving his first top-three finish at Donington was Westbourne Motorsport’s Ben Colburn. Team-mates Aaron Thompson and Finlay Robinson have also shown some strong pace.
In addition the Clio Cup’s social media channels continue to go from strength to strength. Its Instagram page – featuring plenty of behind the scenes video – has now broken the 6,000 followers mark. Its Facebook and Twitter accounts are now followed by over 14,600 and 9,500 followers respectively.
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