Josh Files underlined his happiness with the setup on board the Target Competition-run Hyundai i30 N TCR after good tyre management helped him cut through to fifth in the final TCR Europe race at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Starting on the fifth row of the grid in ninth, the championship leader made gradual progress through the top ten, mitigating the gap to Julien Briché in the standings at 48 points heading to the season finale at Monza.
Speaking to TouringCars.net in Spain, Files says the Hyundai still lacks outright pace, but that managing tyre wear paid dividends in a race of attrition.
“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,” he explained.
“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.”
After a difficult weekend thus far, the double TCR Germany and once TCR Middle East champion was satisfied to end the trip to the 2.89-mile Catalan circuit with a good old-fashioned touring car scrap.
“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,” he explained.
“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.
“I was feeling on it, quite quick – a bit sick, actually, just feeling a bit ill. We think it was a bad pizza…
“But 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.”
Files and main title rival Briché played something of a game of cat-and-mouse through the top ten, the Frenchman finished ahead in third and making up positions at a similar rate.
The Brit insisted, however, that matching the Peugeot 308 racer didn’t factor into his thinking.
“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.”
TCR Europe heads next to Autodromo Nazionale di Monza on 12-13 October.