Josh Files moved closer to the TCR Europe title in race one at Monza after claiming his seventh podium of the season, calling it a ‘proper touring car race’ after he made his way through from ninth on the grid to third.
Files ensured that despite Julien Briché claiming the win, by also standing on the podium he holds a 33-point championship lead heading into Sunday’s final race.
The Brit was up to sixth by the end of the opening lap after making a good start, before moving past Gilles Magnus and Teddy Clairet for fourth by the end of lap two.
The Hyundai driver then chased down and passed the Audi of Santiago Urrutia six laps later to claim another podium finish.
Files admitted afterwards that he had used some of the anger of his poor qualifying result to motivate him to push forwards in the race.
“It was great fun,” said Files to TouringCars.Net. “I love cold tyres so that probably helped. There was a lot of fights going on; I got pushed in Turn 1 so actually lost places at the start.
“I was still quite angry about earlier, so I just put my head down. I made a nice move on Gianni [Morbidelli] out of the second chicane and then there was a bit of a kerfuffle with the two Audis of [Klim] Gavrilov, Magnus and [Dan] Lloyd.
“I made a really good exit out of Lesmo Two and just bump-drafted Gilles, so me and him both got around the outside on the way into Ascari, which was interesting.
“Magnus first went through into the second chicane and I got Teddy on the exit, and then Gilles made a small mistake on the exit of Lesmo Two. That’s how I got up to fourth, but already by then Urrutia and the two Peugeots were gone, so I just got my head down and went as fast as possible
“I chased down Santiago and it looked like he was struggling on the brakes, and he was especially struggling at the Parabolica, so I knew if I got to him that was the option.
“Sure enough a couple of laps later I made him defend on the way in and switched back on the way out and we had a nice little drag race to Turn One.
“I tried to catch the Peugeots, but they were just too fast. I managed to get closer, but with two laps to go they were still three and a half seconds [ahead] so I just backed off. I just knew it wasn’t going to be possible.”
Files believes that his approach of pushing forwards instead of simply settling for points is what kept him out of trouble, as had he not been further forward he could have ended up involved in an incident like the one which took out Luca Engstler on the first lap.
“You can be cautious and think about bagging the points, but the moment you do that you end up in the tough stuff as opposed to out of it, so I’ve come out of that race with all but a little bit of front bumper damage.
“From my side it was great – it was really cool, because I really enjoyed the race. It was proper touring cars, it was great. And finally, no safety cars!
“If the final race tomorrow is like that then it’s great, it’s a spectacle for everyone.”