Rockingham Blog

Hi, I’m Max Coates, Clements sponsored racing driver competing in the Renault UK Clio Cup.

We’re now just over a week after the last round of the championship at Rockingham, it was certainly a mixed weekend. Coming into the seventh round of the championship we had a nice 22 point lead at the front of the championship, nearly a full race win point’s gap (which is 28 points)!

I was feeling confident going into the weekend as I won at the track last year and had been the fastest all race weekend. Testing went quite well, we elected to focus on race pace runs rather than out and out qualifying speed so 5th on the time sheets at the end of the practice sessions was good. We knew more time was in the bag with new tyres.

As qualifying drew I knew I needed a good position on the front two rows. My first run on new tyres (we get two sets of front tyres in qualifying) didn’t go to plan and I was a bit down the order but I knew there was time to find. My second run was much better, I got a nice slip stream off one of my team mates to set my best lap of 1 minute 29.438 seconds and then set my second best lap just after, this time without an all-important slip stream. The times put me 3rd on the grid for the two races, just behind my team mates who had a front row lock out, a great result for the team!

I got a good start in the 1st race and ended up 3rd at the end of the first lap. As everyone bunched up on lap two I lost a place back to 4th and then going into the final chicane another driver hit my left rear wheel which caused significant damage to the car. I could tell something wasn’t right immediately and was surprised that I wasn’t out of the race on the spot. I continued but couldn’t hold the pace of the front runners and on lap 5 my left rear tyre punctured causing two big drifts! I was out, completely gutted I watched the remainder of the race from the pits as my championship lead was slashed!

On Sunday we had a number staff from Clements join us as guests in Renault Sports hospitality. It’s always great to have our sponsors along to support and see what goes on during a race weekend.

Determined to stretch my lead again on Sunday I made another good start and came out of the first few laps in 2nd place, just behind my team mate Jack McCarthy. As the race got to mid-distance Mike Epps caught us both up and I was able to hold him behind until about the fifth lap from the end. Once Mike got through he pulled a gap and I settled for third in the knowledge that I was ahead of my main championship rivals.

We now have a 7 point championship lead going into Silverstone on the 15th and 16th September. It’s always good to race at the ‘home of British Motorsport’ and I’m sure we will be entertaining more guests and hopefully extending that championship lead!