MAX Coates says he wants to let his own racing do the talking after podium finishes at Croft brought him closer to the leading pack of the 2021 MINI Challenge.

Coates returned to his home track at Croft this weekend finishing fifth in the first round of racing on Saturday and third in the second race on Sunday.

At the start of the weekend, Coates was in sixth place sitting marginally behind Lewis Brown. However, Brown slipped off the track yesterday as Coates went on to claw some much needed points back.

It remains to be seen what the weekend’s results do to the overall standings, but with six races to go at Donnington and Brands Hatch, the 27-year-old says he won’t rely on mistakes again to give him a chance of winning the title.

Coates said: “It’s nice to have a podium. That’s what we want. We’re even happier now and I’m very happy with the result.

“It was a good fun race. I had to do a few overtaking manoeuvres to avoid a few people going off so when you have a race like that and a good result to boot then it just seems to make everything better.

“I wasn’t sure where he (Brown) was going to come back to so he went off at turn one, lost the rear which sort of went out to the left hand side but sometimes cars either snap back and go off the way they are sliding or they keep sliding round and they end up right in front of you and you pile into them.

“I was waiting for the inevitable there and him end up on my front bumper but fortunately that didn’t happen and that put me through to fourth. Pearson went off when he had the move with Max Bird and the final one was Ru Clark who I just managed to get past at the final hairpin. It was a tricky race but good to get on the podium.

“We’re a new team to this and it doesn’t just happen overnight to have success but I think this is the closest we’ve been to the front, the guys who are right at the front in the Championship.

“We can see where we need to improve and we’ll just continue on that trajectory so hopefully come the end of the season we’ll have a few more wins and be doing it on outright pace rather than having to rely on a reverse grid to help us out. That’s the aim and we think that’s coming.”

Coates grew up a stones throw away from Croft Circuit and has enjoyed success on the track in the past in the MINI Challenge and in the Clio Cup.

Thousands flocked to watch some of the best in British motorsport compete in North Yorkshire and seeing fans back at his local race track was a source of delight for him.

Coates added: “It was 2019 when I last raced here and it does feel like a long time ago.

“If I’m honest, I’m glad we didn’t race here last year because it would have been a shame to be without guests under the Covid restrictions so I’m kind of glad that’s not been able to taint my Croft experience.

“It’s always been a fantastic weekend and one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.”