Photo: TCR Europe

Josh Files builds mammoth lead despite car troubles all weekend in Germany

Josh Files has now built a 78-point lead in the drivers’ championship after two third-place finishes at Oschersleben, despite struggling with a handling issue since the first practice session on Friday.

Despite two overnight rebuilds, the British driver has said the car is still suffering with a significant handling problem and is unable to put the power down correctly, which first resulted in him qualifying in ninth place for the first race.

A strong start and an action-packed first race saw Files cross the line fifth, and then gain two more spots following penalties for Andreas Bäckman and Nelson Panciatici post-race.

In Race 2, starting from second on the grid for the reversed grid race, Files lost a spot at the start to the Honda of Tom Coronel, but with new Target team-mate Dominik Baumann again behind him, didn’t have to worry about attacks from behind as he cruised to his second podium result of the weekend.

“We’ve improved the car, and it’s now able to turn, but the traction issue is still there – although there’s a small issue which is creating a big impact, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter,” said Files to TouringCarTimes.

“The guys were there rebuilding the car until 12:30 last night, and Dominik (Baumann) again was an excellent rear gunner. For the championship, it’s great, but nothing’s a done deal and we’ve got to regroup in this seven-week break and get ready for Barcelona.”

Files now leads the standings on 254 points, 78 points clear of M1RA’s Luca Engstler, with Julien Briché third in his Peugeot 308TCR.

Mat’o Homola is fourth in the standings, 92 behind, with Santiago Urrutia fourth in the WRT Audi RS 3 LMS, 99 points behind, with 170 points still left from the final two rounds in Spain and Italy.