Max Coates ended his second season in the Ginetta Junior Championship disappointed after slipping to sixth place in the 2011 championship standings, the Coates Garage-run driver having a tough weekend during the final rounds of the yeat at Silverstone.
Max had a tough start to the weekend in qualifying, the privateer sitting bottom of the timesheets in Friday testing, despite being only eight tenths of a second off the pace. His pace transformed overnight though, some changes to the car and his driving being rewarded with top six qualifying results.
Coates said: “In testing we really weren't on the pace, I think we were last in most the sessions. I learnt what I needed to and knew what I needed to do. We got sixth and fifth in qualifying, going about six or seven tenths quicker than we had done all weekend, which I'd known I was capable of doing. We'd made a couple of changes to the car to make it that bit quicker and it got me those positions on the grid.”
Starting in the top six, Coates had hopes of replicating his podium successes at Thruxton and Brands Hatch earlier this year. He started well, getting into a podium place briefly, before slipping back to fifth, after which contact from behind sent him off track, dropping him to a ninth place finish.
Harron Home-backed Coates commented: “I made a really great start and got stuck behind Seb [Morris], boxed in by him. I pushed on as hard as I could and made a couple at Becketts, which put us to third I believe. We slipped back down the order a little bit, but I was battling well with Charlie [Robertson] and George [Gamble], up in the ball park. Then a little tap from [Jake] Giddings at Luffield sent the back round quite a long way and by the time I corrected it, I more or less ended up in the gravel, so fell back to eighth and lost another position so ended ninth.”
The second race saw Coates once again in the thick of the action, the Pyeroy-backed driver fighting within a four car battle for fourth in the latter stages when contact ahead of him sent a car spinning round. With no-where to go, Max collided with it at high speed, extensively damaging the front of his car and dropping him to a lowly eleventh place finish.
Coates explained: “Again I got a good start, I held it around the outside and stayed fifth. I got another place when somebody went off, so was up to fourth and battling away. I was hoping to get involved in the fight ahead but it didn't really happen. George [Gamble] then Declan [Jones] got me on the same lap, I was with them. Then on the last lap, I got a good run going into Becketts and was going down the inside. George had done the same to Brad [Bailey] and they made contact, which spun Brad round right in front of me and I hit him fairly hard, which put us down to eleventh at the finish.”
The Lightwater Valley supported driver added:“It meant we lost fifth in the championship which is really gutting, but we've still taken it to the big teams as a privateer effort and sixth in the championship is good, we've done well.”
*In the coming weeks, The Checkered Flag will feature an in depth interview with Max Coates as he reviews his 2011 season.