Josh Files wins incident-packed first race at Hockenheim
Josh Files has won the first race of the weekend at Hockenheim, dominating proceedings in his Target Competition Hyundai, while there were various melees behind during the 13-lap race at the German circuit.
Files launched from pole into the lead at Turn 1, while Gilles Magnus had a poor getaway in his Comtoyou Racing Audi and dropped to fourth behind the M1RA Hyundai of Luca Engstler, and the WRT Volkswagen of Maxime Potty.
On the move at the start was Hungary Race 2 winner Julien Briché, who was quickly up to fifth from tenth at the end of lap one in his JSB Peugeot 308TCR, with Briché and Aurélien Comte in the rival DG Sport-run Peugeot both passing Magnus’ Audi on lap two.
At the start of lap two, the race was over for Dan Lloyd, after Comte turned in on the Honda driver at the exit of Turn 2, with Comte continuing on, while Lloyd was the first retirement of the race.
On the same lap, there was contact between WestCoast Racing’s Gianni Morbidelli and the Target Hyundai of Mat’o Homola, with Homola already out of position after being pushed out at Turn 16 on the first lap by series returnee Stian Paulsen.
Luca Filippi was having his strongest race so far this season and was up to seventh place in his BRC Racing Team Hyundai, before a run-in with the rival Hyundai of Dusan Borkovic on lap five, which saw Filippi out of the race, and Borkovic sporting damage which would eventually prove terminal, with the Serbian’s car stopping on the final lap.
Meanwhile, WRT Audi driver Santiago Urrutia was recovering from a terrible start, and was working his way up the order, passing Aurélien Comte’s Peugeot on lap eight in a move which lasted three corners, with Urrutia coming out on top and now up to seventh, before soon catching and passing the other Audi of Gilles Magnus on lap ten for sixth.
The safety car was deployed on the same lap as Mat’o Homola’s Hyundai became buried in a gravel trap at the Sachs Kurve, which saw Files’ lead eliminated.
When the race resumed, Comte made one more spot, passing Magnus’ Audi for seventh, while there was a battle royale for P11 between Tom Coronel’s Honda and Nelson Panciatici’s Hyundai, with Coronel warned for aggressive driving after the two made side-by-side contact.
Files went on to win the race by 2.5 seconds clear of Engstler, with Potty completing the podium ahead of Briché and Andreas Bäckman’s Hyundai.
In the championship, Files is now 21 points clear of Magnus, with Briché up to third, nine points further behind.
The second race of the weekend, with Briché starting on pole position, takes place at 11:35 CEST tomorrow.