Photo: TCR Europe

Points leader Josh Files taking the positives from bittersweet weekend

TCR Europe series points leader Josh Files says a strong setup on his Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR contributed to his fifth place finish in a “really fun” second race at Barcelona.

Files came into the weekend with a realistic chance to sealing the title, and this looked even more likely after securing four points for second on the grid after qualifying.

But a 30-second penalty for being out of position on the grid before the start meant that the British driver finished 22nd with no points.

Starting ninth for Race 2, Files finished a strong fifth, minimising the damage made by Peugeot 308TCR driver Julien Briche.

“Race two was fun, how it should have been, really. Obviously yesterday was very disappointing but we’re not going to go into that, because we don’t understand it,” Files said.

“But today was a good day, the car was alive, we worked quite a lot on setup over the weekend and it really paid off today.

“It was nice to have a good touring car race, get in the fight, make some moves, get done by people as well. It was good.”

With Briche clawing back crucial points on Files in the championship with what eventually became second place in Saturday’s opening race after a five-second penalty, Files remained focused on making as much ground as he could.

He continued: “Obviously you can always see Julien ahead of you and you can see he’s making places, but I’m not thinking about trying to follow him through, I’m just thinking about who’s next.

“It got a bit messy the lap after the safety car when Santiago locked up or something, that got very messy, but other than that it was a really nice race.”

While repeatedly stating that he was not thinking about championship implications, Files did approach Sunday’s Race 2 in a different way as a result of his Saturday disappointment.

“Today was, in theory, the calculation of where you have to finish to lift the title. Obviously because of yesterday, that became a no-brainer because there isn’t anything to lift today, no matter what happened.

“We don’t have the out and out speed, but what we do have is a really good setup that’s looking after it’s tyres, so people’s cars were going off near the end and I could keep plugging away.

“I also knew that at the start of the race so it was about attacking as best as possible, but also knowing that later on we’re going to have some speed that perhaps others won’t. That was part of the race, really.”