Max Coates enjoyed a strong start to his 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship campaign at Brands Hatch. The 17 year old, driving for his family run team, ended with two top ten finishes and a good points haul on the opening weekend of the season.
After finishing eleventh in his debut season in 2010, Coates was looking for a good start at Brands as he looks to challenge for the championship. This meant the pressure was on in qualifying to start the weekend well and he went on to set the eighth fastest time in a tight session, just 0.161s off third place.
Reflecting on qualifying, the Yorkshireman said: “I think pace wise we're more or less there, just position we're not. Starting from eighth is not the way we wanted to start, I wanted a top five in qualifying, but anything's still do-able. I think I've proved that I can overtake and there are fourteen laps, close racing, so there's the opportunity to come through and hopefully get a podium. I want to make as good a start to the year as I can, as the intention is to win the championship.”
The first race saw Coates make a good start, moving up to seventh, but a spin on lap three saw him drop to the back of the pack, eventually working his way back to ninth at the finish. Race two saw another good start put him into sixth, before a mistake by a rival moved him to fifth on lap six. A strong move on him by Charlie Robertson saw him pushed wide, losing two places, but Coates soon gained these back over the next few laps, before a last lap spin for a rival ahead saw him promoted to a fourth place finish.
Commenting on race two, he said: “Fourth from eighth isn't a bad way to finish off the weekend. We seemed fairly quick but I think we maybe went a little too high on the pressures, but the race seemed to last a little bit longer than we anticipated, so the tyres got a little bit too hot at the end and that meant I couldn't quite have a go at Will [Foster] when I wanted to. Shame, but I'm really happy with fourth.”
Max heads to the next rounds at Donington Park on April 16/17 with clear aims for the weekend: “Podiums and wins for me really. I really enjoyed Donington last year, it's a great fast flowing circuit and we had some good success, especially in qualifying, so I'm looking forward to it. I can't wait, onwards and upwards.”