Josh Files has described taking the TCR Europe title at Monza as a ‘huge achievement by everyone’ at Target Competition, as he defeated Julien Briché to win a tense final race in Italy.
Going into the race, Files held a 33-point lead which meant all he had to do was finish inside the top 11 if Briché was to win the race.
But with the Peugeot driver powering through to second from tenth on the grid, Files was put under pressure in the closing laps as a late-race puncture or retirement could have handed the title to Briché.
In the end the Hyundai driver held on to score this third win of the year and claim the TCR Europe title, to add to his title in TCR Middle East and two championships in TCR Germany.
Files admitted after the race that his only intention was to push hard, saying that he was not holding back from using the kerbs in any attempt to ease off in the lead.
“I was constantly just thinking let’s go for this win,” said Files to TouringCars.Net. “We prepped the car ready for every attack, kerb, you name it.
“Obviously if Julien made a massive attack on me and gained the position, you’d take it, because you know that even finishing behind him is enough.
“Like he would, we’d take the fight to the very end, but at the same time you’re not going to risk life and limb.
“You can’t [think about avoiding the kerbs] because if you start thinking like that you make mistakes.”
Files added that he was pleased to see the title go to the wire, even though it put him and the team under more pressure.
“I’m just so happy that Julien came through actually and took the fight to the last corner of the last lap of the last race of the year, because for everyone involved that’s mega, isn’t it?
“I was nervous – my heart was going the whole race. I had constant radio messages and their hearts were going, I could tell.
“Julien did everything he could, which is great. I just have to thank Target Competition and Hyundai because without them this season wouldn’t have happened like this, so it’s been amazing.”
Files cited his push on Saturday to claim a podium finish from ninth on the grid as a key moment in claiming the title on Sunday.
“Everyone kept saying how I could tie it up in Barcelona. I always said ‘this is motorsport, anything can happen’ and you saw that that weekend and this weekend.
“We pushed to the very end. Yesterday I pushed like crazy to get to the podium, that was very important and today was very important. I’m over the moon.
“Honestly, I don’t think it’s actually sunk in yet, I really mean that. The guys have been very emotional, and I have too. I’m beaming ear-to-ear.
“I think maybe that later when we suddenly realise what has happened it might even be better. This is a huge achievement by everyone.”
Files also praised the promoters of the TCR Europe series, Paolo Ferreira, including rights-holder WSC Ltd, run by Marcello Lotti and Nunzia Corvino.
“At the end of the day everyone wants to be here, even some of the guys in WTCR. It’s a great championship.
“Marcello, Nunzia and all of the guys at WSC have done a great job bringing this championship up, because it was new last year.
“It’s gone from strength to strength and I’m sure next year will be even stronger.”