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Josh Files to make WTCR début in Spain as replacement for Nicky Catsburg

Josh Files will step up to the FIA World Touring Car Cup this weekend at MotorLand Aragón in Spain, as the Brit replaces Nicky Catsburg at the Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team.

Files, the reigning TCR Europe champion, was supposed to race for Hyundai in the 2020 TCR Asia series, but that campaign has been put on hold by the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead the Norwich-based racer has been seen in the TCR Europe paddock acting as a driver coach for Andreas and Jessica Bäckman, whilst retaining his links with Hyundai Motorsport.

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The 29-year-old will partner Luca Engstler in the second of Engstler Motorsport’s Hyundai i30 N TCR cars at Aragón, a new circuit for much of the WTCR field, but not for Files, who has raced at the circuit in his days in the Renault Clio Eurocup.

Catsburg is unable to race due to having tested positive in a recent PCR test for COVID-19, leaving the Dutchman unable to compete and in self isolation. He had already missed the previous event at the Hungaroring due to clashing commitments.

“It’s the top level of touring cars worldwide and it’s obviously something I’ve been aiming at since I started in the TCR category,” said Files, also a two-time TCR Germany champion. “To get this opportunity last minute is surprising but I’m really chuffed.

“I was about to go to bed on Tuesday night when I got a WhatsApp asking if I was free this weekend.

“It’s gone a bit crazy since then and it’s a daunting prospect, but I’m determined to be as competitive as possible, work with the team and push forward. That’s the goal.

“There’s a huge wealth of experience, knowledge and talent on the grid. It’s going to be really hard, I’m not under any illusions that it’s going to be easy. I can only do my best and hope to have some decent fights.

“I’ve got good knowledge of the car, I know the Engstler team when we were competitors in previous races so I know some of the people that are part of it.

“I don’t know the Goodyear tyres, they’re completely new to me, but I have been Aragón before.

“I did the Clio Eurocup at Aragón seven years ago so I sort of know the track and luckily I found an onboard from the Clio days.

“I came down to iZone Performance at Silverstone [yesterday] just to jump on the sim and remind myself of the lines and techniques. It was good to refresh my memory.”

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