Coates, starting from pole position, led into the first corner, Clervaux, but a sideways moment for the Team Pyro driver at the next bend, Hawthorn, allowed WDE Motorsport’s Rivett to sneak past.
From there it was battle joined between them as they ran nose to tail for the duration of the 12 lap race with Rivett always able to keep Coates at bay. Coates was able to get fully alongside Rivett once along the start-finish straight but, on the outside line for the approaching Clervaux corner, was not able to make his move stick.
Rivett, who also earned bonus points for leading the race and setting the fastest lap, duly held on for the win with Coates just 0.297s behind at the line.
Taking the final step on the podium in third in his first race back under the DRM banner was Daniel Rowbottom who himself was only just clear of Matrix Motorsport’s Michael Epps and WDE’s Dan Zelos in fourth and fifth.
Westbourne Motorsport’s James Dorlin completed the top six but only after regaining the position from MRM’s Jade Edwards who equalled her best result to date in seventh.
Dorlin had earlier been involved in a collision which sent WDE’s Lee Pattison tumbling from third position down the order.
It all means that heading into tomorrow’s tenth round of the season there is a change at the top of the leader board: Coates moves into first and Rivett into second while Dorlin slips to third. Just five points covers this leading trio… Notably Coates and Rivett will start Sunday’s race from the front row of the grid with Dorlin back in ninth. CLICK HERE for the overnight points table.
Rivett’s win was his fourth around Croft – an all-time record. He commented: “I wasn’t sure where Max’s car was going to go at the second bend but sensed he was going to come back across my bows so held back. That's what then happened so I was through on his right.
“He was in my tow all the way after that but I was comfortable defending and still came away with the fastest lap so it's a very good result – I’m just sorry for me team-mate Lee as WDE could have had two cars on the podium.”
Coates reflected: “I really wanted the win on my home circuit and threw everything at it but I was also wary that Dorlin was in a bit of trouble behind so wasn’t going to take any crazy risks. I’ll still take second but I intend on putting things right tomorrow.”
The top ten was rounded by Pyro team-mates Bradley Burns, Jack McCarthy and Zak Fulk. McCarthy impressively made up ten positions after starting 19th and last.
Westbourne’s James Colburn – nerfed wide and down the order in a brush with Fulk – took 11th ahead of the recovering Pattison. MRM’s Brett Lidsey, WDE’s Nicolas Hamilton and Matrix’s Andy Wilmot filled positions 13th to 15th. WDE’s Sam Osborne finished in among them but a ten-second penalty for a false start demoted him to 16th in the result.
Matrix’s Aaron Thompson was 17th ahead of a distant Luke Warr – his BLG Racing car badly delayed in an incident at the Complex which spelt retirement for Matrix’s Jeff Alden.
CLICK HERE for full result.