Plenty of names on a high after personal bests in Brands Hatch opener

With so many faces in new places on 2019’s Renault UK Clio Cup grid there was always the chance of personal best results in Brands Hatch’s opening rounds and so it transpired…
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Max Coates joined a really exclusive club in becoming only the fourth driver in history to achieve two pole positions, two wins and two fastest laps all in one weekend in the UK Clio Cup.

Only Daniel Buxton (Rockingham 2003), Jonathan Adam (Brands Hatch Indy, Donington Park and Brands Hatch GP all in 2005) and Ash Hand (Thruxton 2015) had previously achieved the ‘triple double’…

Coates’s two wins also meant a dream start to life in the Clio Cup for his team, Team HARD.

His second win at Brands, though, came after Jack Young – victorious on the road – was demoted to second in the result by a time penalty for having contravened safety car regulations (he’d suddenly braked having already begun to accelerate during a re-start).

In addition to denying Young’s MRM team a first win in the championship, it also prevented (for now) the Belfast teenager from becoming the youngest ever winner in the UK Clio Cup. Born in October 2002, however, there is time yet for him to beat the record set in 2017 by Josh Price, then aged 17 years and nine months…

It is also worth pointing out that a pair of second places at Brands Indy still marked Young’s best results to date in the UK Clio Cup as well as his first appearances on the championship podium.

It was a similar story for his MRM team-mate Brett Lidsey whose pair of third places earned him his first top-three finishes in the championship – celebrated all the more as these were achieved on home ground for the Northfleet driver.

And there were more personal bests behind as Coates’s team-mates Ethan Hammerton (on his debut) and Jade Edwards each drove to a fourth place finish, R-Tech/MRM’s Ben Davis to a fifth and Westbourne Motorsport’s Aaron Thompson to a sixth (note: Westbourne’s Anton Spires took a sixth but this was not his best to date – he achieved a fifth at Thruxton back in 2016).

On his debut, Westbourne’s Finlay Robinson established a personal best of seventh while Specialized Motorsport’s Luke Warr took his first top-ten result with a ninth.

In qualifying, too, there were numerous PBs to shout about: Coates’s two poles added to the seven he’d achieved before but also meant double pole on its debut for Team HARD; Hammerton and Lidsey took a P3 each; Davis a P5; Westbourne’s Ben Colburn a P6; Robinson a P10; Warr a P11.

Those missing out on a qualifying PB included: Young (pole for 2018 final round at Brands Hatch); Thompson (P4 at Oulton Park in 2017); Edwards (P5 last year at Thruxton); Spires (P7 at Thruxton in 2016).