Julien Briché labelled his victory in the opening TCR Europe race at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as the ‘most important’ in terms of staying in the title race.
Briché took the lead with a lightning start, passing Andreas Backman on the inside of the sweeping right-hander at Turn 1 before managing the gap – and a safety car restart – to power home 1.3 seconds clear.
Crucially, a 30-second time penalty in lieu of a drive-through for chief title rival Josh Files after the latter was adjudged to have been out of position at the start thins the deficit in the standings to 49 points.
Briché, however, remains under investigation for jumping the start, but was believes it will be pass without issue.
“Honestly, it was a very tricky race,” said the JSB Competition racer.
“This win was probably the most important in terms of keeping us in the championship.
“I had a good start and made a bit of a break but unfortunately there was the safety car.
“I tried to do the same after the restart but Files was always within a couple of tenths of me, so I was attacking from the first to the last lap.
“For the championship, it’s certainly very difficult because we are 50 points behind. And Josh, if he doesn’t make any mistakes, he is champion, there’s no real issue there.”
He also believes the Hyundai’s extra compensation weight helped turn the odds in his favour in their fight, and feels if he can carry on this momentum, perhaps it will be possible to put some pressure on Files in the championship hunt.
“It definitely helped that the Hyundais were a bit heavier, we don’t have the same engine but they are no doubt quicker in a straight line than us, but it was a great battle.”
“Four victories in the season, it’s good. I think if we take each race as it is, not get involved in any incidents then we might be able to close up a bit more. We’ll see.
“I don’t know, there is an investigation but I think it was okay.”