It was a weekend of ups and downs for the title protagonists of the 2019 Renault UK Clio Cup at Oulton Park. With mixed race results and other drivers coming to the fore. It looks like it’s not going to be an easy run in for Max Coates and Jack Young after all.
Starting from pole position for the first time in the series, Jamie Bond did make a good start and led the pack for the opening handful of laps. However, a slight mistake through Druids was enough for Young to make his move and take the lead.
Coates also managed to get past his Team HARD teammate at Old Hall and looked set for second place. But, frustrated with his mistake. Bond managed to get past Coates to claim second at the flag. Coates duly took third.
Ben Colburn had been involved in the battle for the lead but he faded through the race and took a strong fourth place. Ahead of the other Team HARD drivers of Jade Edwards and Ethan Hammerton in fifth and sixth.
Just half a second behind Hammerton was Brett Lidsey in seventh and in eighth was Luke Warr.
Finlay Robinson was an unfortunate retirement due to mechanical gremlins.
With pole position in race two, all Jack Young had to do was keep it on track and it was set to be another weekend double. However, on cold tyres and with Coates on the outside challenging him through Old Hall. The MRM Racing Clio started to slide and head towards the barriers on the inside.
Hitting the wall with a sickening crunch, Young was out of the race. Seen limping away from the wreckage the only damage was bruising after banging his knee against the steering column. Thankfully, Young will return fully fit next month.
It would have been an easy run to the flag for Coates. However, pressure from Jamie Bond and a rapid Ben Colburn wasn’t going to make it easy for him. Seemingly with enough control over his pace, Coates took victory.
Bond may have finished second but gremlins with his Clio in the closing laps allowed Ben Colburn to close up and cross the line in third just two tenths behind the Team HARD car. There was a feeling that if the race was just a lap longer Ben could have gotten past Bond.
In his game of catch-up, Ben Colburn set the fastest lap of the race.
Fourth place went to Brett Lidsey ahead of Jade Edwards and Ethan Hammerton enjoying déjà vu with fifth and sixth respectively again. Hammerton dropping down the order after a spin following a collision with Lidsey.
Finlay Robinson and Luke Warr wowed the crowds and the ITV4 viewers with a race long battle at the rear of the field. With a sniff of an overtake possible heading towards the Fogarty Esses, Warr made his move. But, not wanting to give up his position Robinson moved left and their rear wheels collided.
Luke’s Specialized Motorsport Clio jumped into the air and was a retirement on the spot. Robinson managed to get his Clio back to the pits. But the damage was too great and the Westbourne Motorsport team decided to retire him from the remainder of the race.
Leaving Oulton Park, Coates now heads Young by six points at the top of the championship table. But the main thing we have learnt in Cheshire is that other drivers are beginning to show strong pace and could possibly throw this two way title battle into disarray. This is a welcome boost to a championship in the twilight of its existence.