Josh Files was pleased to be the fastest of the Hondas in TCR Europe qualifying, but believes racing against the Volkswagen Group (VAG) machinery will be ‘hard work.’
The British driver qualified in seventh position for race one, and was pleased with the performance despite being held up on his flying lap in Q2.
“I’m very happy,” said Files. “We only used used tyres yesterday and I hoped to find a second and a half and we found a second and a half.
“I actually probably could have found two seconds because in Q2 I got blocked in the third sector, and I lost half a second on myself from Q1 because of it.
“So I think we could have been in the high [one minute] 29’s, but that is with full slipstream, the perfect lap as fast as the Honda will go. And that’s sort of proven by the fact that we’re the fastest Honda anyway. So I’m happy in that respect.”
With joint-championship leader Dušan Borković’s Hyundai just ahead of him in sixth position, Files told TouringCars.Net that racing against the VAG cars will prove tough.
“We’re a very similar pace to Hyundai’s around here but we have no answer for the VAG cars, it’s quite simple. They seem to have a very big speed advantage.
“In the middle sector we’re all about the same, but the sector one and three are obviously straight line and they seem to have something.
“I think if any non-VAG car were to get a podium, it’s probably through mistakes from others or sheer luck or rain. I think getting a podium here, in a Honda or a Hyundai kind of – not unrealistic – but it’ll be hard work, and whoever manages it has done a very good job.”
With rain a possiblity for the opening race this afternoon, the 2016 TCR Germany champion is reminded of the last time he was at Spa-Francorchamps in the wet, which was in a Renault Clio.
“It was a long time ago so I have no idea what the car will be like in the rain. It’s a lottery for everyone.
“Actually if it rains it’ll probably play into Jean-Karl and Maxime’s advantage because they know the track and they probably know where the grip is whereas we’ll make it up!”