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Coates encounters major problems in MINI CHALLENGE

Max Coates – who is sponsored by NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd – started the 2021 MINI CHALLENGE with a trio of difficult races as the season got underway at the Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk in front of fans trackside for the first time in eighteen months.

The North Yorkshireman was on course to set the fastest lap of qualifying until he spun on fluid dropped by another car at the difficult Coram bend. After re-grouping he posted the sixth fastest time of the session in his Graves Motorsport prepared car.

He initially lost a position at the start of race one but clawed it back just a lap later and set about chasing down the pack ahead. Whilst showing race winning pace, he gained another spot but became embroiled in a battle for fifth position. Unfortunately, he clashed with another driver as they both fought for the same piece of tarmac, the contact causing a puncture and a non-finish.

As a result, Coates started race two from 26th on the grid but surged through on the opening lap to move up ten positions before more misfortune hit. As he entered the Brundle chicane his gearbox broke and was stuck in sixth gear causing him to fall to the back of the pack again. After a pitstop he crawled round to finish in 24th.

In the final race, Coates started in 24th position but while running inside the top twenty he had to take avoiding action twice, both losing him ground and in the second causing him to go off track filling the front air vents with grass. He had to pit to avoid overheating the engine and crossed the line in 24th position.

Coates said: “This weekend has been one to forget, it seemed luck just wasn’t on my side. Brands Hatch is next and it’s a track I love so I’m looking forward to putting this weekend right there. On a positive side working with the Graves Motorsport team has been great and it was simply brilliant to see people trackside enjoying racing once again.”

Mark Hallam, Marketing Manager, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “Max was showing great pace over the weekend but unfortunately suffered misfortune in all three races. I’m sure he’ll be back fighting hard at the second round of the 2021 MINI CHALLENGE UK season at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit on June 26 and 27 where he will be aiming to repeat his pole position from last year.”


Notes to Editors


Worldwide: NGK Spark Plug is one of the leading automotive and technical ceramics suppliers, with its corporate headquarters in Nagoya, Japan and sales organisations and production facilities all over the world. The automotive side of the company specialises in the fields of ignition and sensor technology, supplying Original Equipment and Aftermarket customers across the globe. Its product portfolio for the Aftermarket comprises spark plugs, glow plugs, ignition coils and leads under the NGK Ignition Parts brand, whilst oxygen and temperature sensors, NOx sensors, mass air flow (MAF) and manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensors operate under the brand NTK Vehicle Electronics. With more than 14,500 employees, the company’s automotive and technical ceramics activities generate a total annual turnover of around 3.1 billion Euros worldwide. NGK Spark Plug is represented on all continents and has 41 group companies, 24 production plants and five technical centres.


Aftermarket EMEA: NGK Spark Plug has seen significant growth across the Aftermarket since expanding beyond motorcycle parts into the automotive sector in the 1970s. With an outstanding commitment to quality, technology and research & development the company has become the world’s number one in spark plugs and oxygen sensors, and a leading provider of glow plugs, ignition coils and leads as well as further sensor technology. Organisationally NGK Spark Plug’s regional headquarters in Ratingen, Germany serves the Aftermarket across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In the EMEA region – which currently represents 32% of NGK´s global turnover – the company has ten group companies and more than 800 employees, as well as two production plants in France and South Africa and a technical centre in Germany.

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Andy Hurst

Hurst Media Services

Tel: + 44 (0)1354 657253; Mobile: 0773 694 7803