Josh Files got his bid for the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup title underway at Brands Hatch today (Sunday, 31 March), with a battling eleventh place finish in Round 1, followed by an accomplished fourth place in Round 2. However, the Norwich based driver couldn’t hide disappointment, as his undoubted speed could not be converted into the podiums that he expects to deliver.
In freezing conditions, Files had the pace, setting fastest laps in both races, but this years ultra-competitive field will demand luck and exemplary racecraft if he is to deliver the title in this his third year in Britain’s premier one-make saloon car championship.
Round 1 was a frustrating affair, a poor getaway saw Files edged to the outside of Paddock Hill Bend from his sixth place grid slot, and after much jostling, he emerged in tenth place after the first lap.
Fighting to recover ground in a tight pack, a mistake heading into Clearways saw Files run wide, falling further back into 14th position at the conclusion of the second lap.
Then came the charge, showing his experience and quality, Files climbed through the field lap-by-lap onto the back of the leading pack in seventh place, as the race reached its final lap.
Sensing the chance to gain more places as the pack entered Clearways for the final time, a spin saw his good work undone, and recovery to eleventh place finish was the net result.
Round 2 promised an opportunity to recover. Starting from the outside of the second row, Files made a better start but was squeezed into fourth by the experienced Paul Rivett.
A further place was lost in the fray to Ant Whorton-Eales as the safety car was deployed to recover the hapless Ronnie Klos, who was stranded in the Paddock Hill gravel.
At the restart, Files exerted pressure and made a clean pass to retake fourth. The top four of Alex Morgan, Rivett, James Colburn and Files showed their skill, and worked faultlessly to pull away from the rest of the field.
Lap after lap, the quartet were bumper-to-bumper, waiting for each other to make a mistake and open the door, but despite the best efforts and fastest race lap, Files was unable to make the podium despite crossing the line within half a second of the eventual winner Morgan.
Files will hope for better next time out at Donington Park on the 20/21 April when the Renault UK Clio Cup resumes action.
For all information regarding Josh Files and his racing activity in the Renault UK Clio Cup please view his Facebook page, or alternatively follow @JoshFiles on Twitter.