Julien Briché admitted that he feels that Josh Files has one finger on the TCR Europe title already, despite the Frenchman clinching a convincing victory in the first race at Monza on Saturday.
Although Briché took his fourth win of the year, the inroads he made into Files’ championship lead were relatively minimal after the Brit made his way through to third in the first race.
Only DG Sport’s Aurélien Comte, who had agreed a pre-race deal with Briché not to try to pass for the lead, also took points away from Target Competition’s Files.
The result means that Files holds a 33-point lead over Briché heading into Sunday’s final race of the year, with only 40 on offer for victory.
“We made a good start with Aurélien alongside us – we agreed between us before the start that we would hold station,” said Briché.
“After that, I got into a good rhythm and as we’re both with the same manufacturer, he agreed he wouldn’t attack me because I am going for the championship.
“Even though it was quite a hard race, he had a lot of pace, but it was a really good day.”
Briché praised title rival Files for his drive through the pack as the Hyundai driver made his way up to third from ninth on the grid.
“Files did a very, very good race today. He started ninth and he made it up to third. I never expected that so congratulations to him and his team.
“It’ll be a big effort to take the title tomorrow. In any case, we’ll be second in the standings barring any issues for the others, and of course I don’t wish that on anyone. But yeah, on paper, Files is champion.”