Ginetta JuniorMax Coates Blog

Max Coates Blog: Positive Progress At Snetterton

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Snetterton was a track I struggled with last year, I was really optimistic this year as the new 300 layout looked really exciting to drive and race on.  I had a look at lots of videos on YouTube to try and learn the track as well as I could and then ran it on Thursday night in the rain.

Friday was the first chance I had to see what the track was really like from behind the steering wheel, I very quickly found that the track was as thrilling and challenging to drive as the onboard videos from YouTube suggested.  My times fell dramatically in a very short space of time but I was still a long way off those setting the pace at the front, their testing advantage proved pivotal.

I ended the second session on Friday about three seconds off but was sure on where to improve, this worked and the Saturday warm up session saw me close the gap by a second.  Qualifying went better again ending the session 1.5 seconds off.  I was still disappointed because I wanted to be in a position where I could fight for wins and podiums but I was sure that I could get to the front from my starting positions of 11th and 12th.

The first race got off to a good start; I had a good launch and re-acted well to the lights.  I decided to opt for the outside at the first corner and fortunately the accident happened and stayed on the inside, I managed to move from 12th to 8th.  Half way around the lap at Hamilton I turned in too early and hit the start of the inside kerb, this chucked the car into a big slide which I managed to control, just.  I passed Ollie Chadwick down the Senna Straight into Riches and then I got overtaken by Struan Moore down the Bentley Straight and tried to catch Will Foster and Sennan Fielding.  I was just dropping off the back when Will made a move into the first corner forcing both Sennan and himself wide, Struan and I capitalised on this and I moved passed Sennan on the run into Montreal.  Sennan and Tom Howard had an altercation behind me which I didn't see but I knew then that the pressure from behind was off, for a while at least.

Max in action at Snetterton

I kept with Struan and Will and then the opportunity came for me to make my move, Will went for the inside line into Oggies which slowed both on the exit, I went for the inside and was squeezed onto the grass by Will but the run I had got me alongside Struan into Williams.  I stuck in on the inside and got the place.  Sometime later Struan and Will ended up back in front of me, I can't remember how and I made a move past Will into Corum and then passed Struan somewhere else.  I was left with Will behind me on the last two laps, he had a good run on me into Brundle twice, the first time he cut to the grass and the second time I out braked him so he was right with me going into the last corner.  Will was trying to go up the inside through Corum and then swapped to the inside for the final corner of Murray's.  I didn't cover my line enough and Will slammed it down the inside.  The loss of momentum meant that Tom Howard got passed by the line and I finished 6th, not a bad result considering my starting position however one mistake cost me two places right at the end.

Overall it was a great race to drive, overtaking and racing is what I live for and the first race at Snetterton was all about that, the end result wasn't what I had wanted but as a result I was optimistic for the second race.

In the second race I got another good launch and beat Ollie Chadwick into the first corner; unfortunately I then was in between two battles and was circulating by myself.  I couldn't keep up with the group in front but left those behind, however towards the end of the race Will got spat out of the back of the pack in front and Niall Murray caught both Will and I.  We had a good little battle and were three a breast going into Riches, I was then at the back of the three and managed to pass Niall.  Then Will had a bad run on the exit to Nelson so I got up the inside into the Bomb Hole and then Niall Murray came up the inside of both of us into Corum.  Will then went up the inside into Murray's and I ended up on the grass, as a result I lost time to those in front and had another lap circulating by myself.

11th meant I hadn't moved forwards or backwards, it wasn't my best race.  Looking back though my first race performance was great and taking the positives out of the weekend is what I want to do.  I managed to get from 12th to 4th without profiting from others misfortunes, which, in the Ginetta Junior class is an achievement in itself.

I now move into another break until we go north to Scotland in early September.  It is a very exciting track to drive for completely opposite reasons to Snetterton; it is tight and twisty as well as undulating and bumpy and is a track is hard to get right.  I really can't wait for our trip to Scotland where I hope to repeat the race one performance at Snetterton, albeit starting from a considerably higher position.

Until then, all the best,


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