Team Pyro’s Josh Files failed to transform his fourth place qualifying performance into a podium finish, completing round seven of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup in fifth position at Oulton Park.
The driver, backed as part of Direct Debit’s Big Break campaign, made a slow start off the line, dropping to sixth as the pack of aspiring racers exited Old Hall for the first time.
Files would see out the remainder of the first lap action in sixth position, before a first corner incident involving Total Control Racing’s Nick Hamilton, and Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn, led to the deployment of the safety car.
Britain’s premier one-make saloon car championship soon resumed racing on lap five, with Files immediately placing pressure on Team Pyro teammate, Adam Bonham, before making a successful move on the exit of the hairpin to promote him to fifth position.
Files soon benefitted from the misfortune of Stancombe Vehicle Engineering’s Paul Rivett, on lap six at knickerbrook, after the 2011 series champion made contact with the tyre stack on the third part of the corner, causing him to retire with front end damage to his car.
A fourth placed Files began to hunt down 20 Ten Racing’s Josh Cook in third position, posting numerous fastest laps in the process, but it wasn’t meant to be, with Files running wide at Old Hall on lap 14, allowing Bonham back through in the process.
“I didn’t have the best start today,” explained Files. “Unfortunately I lost two places at the start and was unable to recover them due to the safety car period.”
“On the restart I managed to get on the outside of Bonham into the hairpin, cutting back on the inside going up the hill to snatch back fifth. The following lap Rivett hit the tyre stack on the exit of the third part of Knickerbrook, which took me up to fourth, establishing a train of cars from there.
“The tyres went off quite quickly, and I just pushed a little too hard into Old Hall Corner, causing me to go wide allowing Bonham to go back through.”
“I just hope tomorrow we can do better, fifth at this stage is not good enough. We can’t write ourselves off the championship completely, but I’ve really got to win from now on.”
Round eight of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup will commence tomorrow (10th June), at 15:14, and will be aired live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD.
(Image courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography)