18/04/2019

Shades of Priaulx ‘99? Coates going for 100% record in 2019

It might sound premature but, after his perfect start to the season at Brands Hatch, Max Coates is already eyeing ending 2019 with some of the best results of any driver in Renault UK Clio Cup history…
  • Priaulx--02.jpg
  • Coates-21.jpg
  • l1_Coates-09.jpg

As documented elsewhere, at Brands Hatch the North Yorkshireman became only the fourth driver since the current Clio Cup started in 2000 to achieve the clean sweep of two pole positions, two wins and two fastest laps all in one weekend.

But it’s what else his achievements at the Kent circuit have potentially set him up for in 2019 that register…

Firstly, he now has nine career wins and, theoretically, if he were to win all remaining 16 rounds he would end 2019 on 25 career victories to go second only to four-time champion Paul Rivett (49) on the all-time winners’ chart. Currently second spot is held by Stefan Hodgetts on 22 while 2005 champ Jonny Adam and Mike Bushell (title-winner in 2014 and 2017) are next up on 18 and 16 wins respectively…

Secondly, wins in all 16 remaining races would of course mean Coates going undefeated all season – an achievement only managed once before in a Renault UK championship; by Andy Priaulx in 1999 (pictured left) when he won all 13 rounds en route to the final Spider sportcar title.

To pole positions and fastest laps and, on both, Coates is currently tied with 2009 champ Phil Glew with 12 and nine respectively.

Third in the poles table with 28 in all is thus possible with only Rivett (36) and Bushell (31) out of reach.

Rivett’s tally of 34 fastest laps is also unapproachable but Coates could yet surpass Adam’s total of 21 to go second.

Coates said: “To sign off in and among drivers who will forever be considered Clio Cup legends… we’re talking lofty heights with those sorts of stats!

“Jonny Adam is a name I’ve always held in high regard, particularly when you consider what he’s gone on to since with some top performances in the BTCC and then British GT titles and a victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours. To be somewhere near his results would make me proud.”

He added: “I’d be wrong to start every weekend without aiming to go out and do what we did at Brands Hatch.

“Certainly I feel good enough to do it, but I also appreciate just how difficult it would be to achieve, particularly with Jack (Young) and a few others on the grid.

“I’m also wary that the double at Brands came as a result of Jack’s penalty – it was a shame for him because he’d driven very well. If the treble comes my way again I want it to be without anyone getting penalties.

“My target is to go as fast as possible in a Clio Cup car. It’s important to prove we are winning races by going faster than we’ve ever gone before.”