Jack Young (Belfast) and Max Coates (Scorton) made it a famous 1-2 result for the Renault UK Clio Cup in the International Clio Cup Final event held at France’s Paul Ricard circuit yesterday.
The pair were among the very fastest as soon as they took to the track in Friday testing and from there became the two top names to beat out of a classy 90-strong entry comprising drivers from Clio Cup championships also in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Central Europe and China.
Coates won the first of their races, held on Saturday, while 17-year-old Young was victorious next time out on Sunday morning.
In final timed qualifying they then took first and second places on the 39-car starting grid, with Young grabbing the top spot just ahead of Coates. They were the only drivers to get beneath the two minute, 27 seconds mark around Paul Ricard’s full length Grand Prix circuit configuration.
In the race (25 minutes plus one lap) Young led all the way with Coates occasionally challenging behind in second. Fellow UK Clio Cup runner Brett Lidsey (Northfleet) also figured heavily, qualifying fifth fastest for the Final and running in fourth in the race before being eliminated in an incident with another driver.
Young and Coates, though, stayed clear of any troubles and crossed the line first and second. Winner Young will be rewarded with the key to a brand new 280hp Mégane R.S.
Young’s victory caps a remarkable 12 months of competition with Renault Sport in the UK and for him and his team, MRM. Last year they won the Renault UK Clio Cup Junior crown together and in 2018 have become a major force in the senior UK Clio Cup at British Touring Car Championship events.
Young commented: “It was important I made the most of pole position in the Final. I just managed to keep Max behind – he was pushing like mad so I had to push even harder and somehow I’ve come out on top. A big ‘thank you’ to MRM for their support – I wouldn’t be here without them.”
Coates said: “I felt like I had the pace to challenge Jack and was biding my time, but there was a safety car period and at the re-start he just got the jump on me and that was it. I had to defend my position a bit after that and he was gone. Second here having also come so close to winning the UK Clio Cup title… still it’s been a great year with lots of wins and podiums