Coates: “It Went As Well As We Could Have Hoped”

Max Coates says his qualifying lap was “about as close to perfect as I could have done” as he secured his maiden Renault UK Clio Cup pole position in only his second meeting in the series.

The Yorkshireman posted a best effort of 1m 17.482s around the Donington Park National circuit to claim top spot for today’s opening race – the first outright pole position of his car-racing career so far.

“It went pretty much as well as we could have ever hoped for,” Coates told TCF.

“It was a great lap. It was a quick as I thought I could go. I nailed almost every corner and got a great tow, so it’s a really satisfying feeling.”

The current Graduate Cup leader and his Ciceley Motorsport team now head into the third race of their respective Clio careers with victory in their sights.

“Hopefully we can win the race and obviously that will be the plan,” he commented.

“We went into the Brands weekend hoping for two top seven finishes and a Graduate win, and we came away from there with an average finish of seventh and two class wins.

“This weekend, we came in wanting a proper podium in the top three overall and we’ve put ourselves in the best possible position to achieve that.”

The pole position comes following a positive start to the season at Brands Hatch, which featured sixth and eighth place finishes en-route to a pair of Graduate Cup victories.

Coates feels that the stability of having his first full season of racing in five years is giving him the chance to showcase just what he can do.

“It’s the most time I’ve spent in a car since I was in a Ginetta Junior back in 2011,” he concluded.

“It’s also the first time I’ve had two consecutive meetings in a car since 2013 in the G50’s, and when I did that I came here and won all three races.

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself at all, the Clio’s is a really competitive championship and it won’t be easy to enjoy success, but it shows that if I get time in a car to gel with it and really learn how it works, I can be quick.”