NGK-sponsored Max Coates secured a maiden win in the Quaife MINI CHALLENGE for the Graves Motorsport team in a successful weekend that also saw him make the podium and come fifth in two other races.

The Yorkshireman started his winning race at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit well, challenging the front two drivers but unable to get past on the first lap.

As the race developed, Coates found his JiC Transport backed car in a sizeable gap but was hunted down in the closing stages. Ultimately, he held onto the position which netted him the race win as the two ahead tangled on the final lap, one failing to finish and the other excluded for the contact.

Coates said: “What a way to bounce back. I’m so happy to get the team’s first podium and win this weekend. Graves Motorsport and my loyal sponsors have been so supportive since the opening round so to repay them with that performance feels so good.

“As a team we are making improvements and learning all the time, so having such a positive weekend this early in the season is fantastic and I’m sure it will only get better as the year goes on.”

Mark Hallam, Marketing Manager, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “It was a fantastic performance by Max to win at Brands Hatch and he also competed well in the other races. It looks like it’s going to be an exciting season for Max in the championship.”

The third event of the 2021 MINI CHALLENGE UK season will be held at Oulton Park on July 31-August 1 where it is hoped that fans will be allowed back to watch in full capacity.  It will be the first time Coates will have driven on the Oulton Park circuit in the MINI CHALLENGE car, but he’s hoping to get back on the top step of the podium again.