Team HARD driver Max Coates won the second of two races (round eight) at Oulton Park, Cheshire towards the end of June to regain the lead that he had lost in Donington Park’s third and fourth rounds in April to MRM rival Jack Young.
Young, the 17-year-old sensation from Belfast, had won the first of Oulton’s races ahead of Coates and the latter’s Team HARD team-mate Jamie Bond who had startled the championship’s leading pair by qualifying on pole position and then leading the opening laps.
Many thought Young could achieve the double at Oulton as he lined up on pole for the second race only to sensationally crash out at the very first bend as he defended from Coates.
Thus Coates was left a clear road for his fifth win of the season but he was under pressure all the way from Bond in a best-ever second and Westbourne Motorsport’s Ben Colburn, matching his previous best with third and also the race’s fastest lap.
Heading to Snetterton, Coates’s advantage over Young at the top of the table is just six points (there is a maximum of 56 to be had at the Norfolk venue). Young’s MRM team-mate Brett Lidsey is third with the emerging Bond and also Team HARD’s Jade Edwards and Colburn not too far adrift in fourth, fifth and sixth.
Coates, who recently enjoyed a test in a British Touring Car at Snetterton, said: “It was nice to go into the summer break back in front but Snetterton only marks the half way of the season – there are still another eight rounds to go after.
“What Oulton did show is just how strong the UK Clio Cup is compared to its overseas counterparts – Jack had dominated the two international races at the French Grand Prix event, then came back to Oulton for the two UK races and was matched by not just myself but also the likes of Jamie and Ben.
“Either of those and a few more I could name could easily be in among us in the second half of the season which makes it all the tougher to win but that is how I’d want it to be as it gives you added credibility.”
Both Clio Cup rounds at Snetterton will be held on the Sunday (4 Aug) as part of the British Touring Car Championship’s event there – the biggest motor sport fixture of the year for East Anglia.
Live TV coverage (approx. 10.30-18:00) of the event will be broadcast across the nation on ITV4 and also live-streamed to mobile devices via ITV.com/btcc
Tickets are still available at discounted rates. Snetterton is located just off the A11 near Attleborough.
Remaining Renault UK Clio Cup races – all with the BTCC and with live ITV4 coverage – are:
3-4 August Snetterton, Norfolk Rounds 9 & 10
17-18 August Thruxton, Hants Rounds 11 & 12
14-15 September Knockhill, Fife Rounds 13 & 14
28-29 September Silverstone, Northants Rounds 15 & 16
12-13 October Brands Hatch GP, Kent Rounds 17 & 18