Josh Files’ opening TCR Europe race in Barcelona came to a pre-mature end after a de-laminating front-left Yokohama tyre forced the Hell Energy with KCMG driver into the pits.
The problem is believed to have been caused by stray debris on circuit, or a kerb strike, according to Yokohama.
It dropped the Honda Civic Type R from second to ninth on a single lap before retiring, whilst team mate Attila Tassi held on ahead to claim victory and keep himself in the title fight.
It also means KCMG hold a slender two point advantage over Target Competition heading into the finale tomorrow [21st October].
“After the safety car I couldn’t turn right very well any more with under-steer and a huge vibration,” explained Files to TouringCars.net in Spain.
“The Yokohama guys believe I may have picked up some debris from a cut or a kerb strike earlier in the race.
“From there it just got worse and worse, to the point where I felt like I was going to be dangerous or have a blowout or something.
“When Dusan came alongside me on the outside I just thought ‘if I try to brake later or the tyre explodes or something happens and I crash into him, it’s not useful for anyone really’.
“It got so bad that we came in to look at the damage and – it’s not good.”
He admitted the main frustration was losing another 18 points in the Teams category to Target, but believes the car has the inherent pace to pick it’s way through the field tomorrow from the lower reaches of the top ten.
Team mate Mike Halder could also provide a welcome boost for the outfit from the front row.
“That’s the frustration, of course,” he added.
“Attila [Tassi] showed that we have the speed throughout the race, really, which is a good thing.
“It’s a shame. I’m not knocking the Yokohama tyre, they’re a great qualifying tyre, but they have been known to de-laminate at this circuit and a few people have been susceptible to that today.”
“We’ll definitely be able to pick our way through, there’s no denying it. We have genuine pace, we just need to make sure whatever happened with the tyre does not happen again.
“Whether that means changing the tyre pressures so they don’t get cuts on the first lap, or avoiding debris, I don’t know. Debris just happens, so you can’t generally avoid it!”
The final race at Circuit de Catalunya gets underway at 15:55 CEST.