Josh Files fought hard to retain fourth in the opening TCR Europe race at Le Castellet, and says the result is ‘basically like a win’.
The Hell Energy Racing with KCMG driver put in an inspired defensive drive against a host of rivals to hold onto the position, despite being tipped off balance and wide at Virage du Pont in the closing laps by Target’s Kris Richard.
Files made a trademark positive getaway, relieving Stian Paulsen’s CUPRA of fourth into the inside of De Beausset.
He came under heavy fire from Paulsen, Jean-Karl Vernay’s Audi RS 3 LMS and the Hyundai i30 duo of Reece Barr and Richard at several stages in the remaining laps, but held on to open his season with a consistent result.
Files also praised the setup of the Honda Civic Type R FK7 and feels positive about their long-run pace over a race distance.
“It was lively! I’m really happy with the result,” he told TouringCars.net at Paul Ricard.
“Where we are at the moment on a track like this, it’s basically like a win. It’s quite obvious we’re not fast, but the car set-up is very good and we’re consistent when there’s no fights, and at the end of the race I could still do similar lap times to the start. I’m very happy – there was a lot of ‘argy bargy’!
“It was a case of Kris being in the back of me, pushing me around the corner, and I was sideways throughout the whole thing to be honest. At some point the corner’s going to go right, so you have to turn right otherwise you’re going to end up left off the track and it’s going to be a disaster.
“He was trying, let’s say, but there’s one thing I won’t allow and that’s people to pass – not easily anyway! If they’re going to find a way past it will be hard work for them. We’ve got work to do with the car, but it’s OK.”
The final race at Paul Ricard gets underway at 15:50 on Sunday [6th May].