Second place for unrelenting Files in frantic Clio Cup race at Thruxton

An unrelenting Josh Files converted a front-row start to a second place finish in Round 5 of the Renault UK Clio Cup at the dauntingly fast Thruxton circuit on Saturday (4 May).

A time of 1m24.922s assured the Norwich-based racer of second place for Thruxton’s opening Clio Cup encounter, while a superbly consistent lap time of 1m25.214s guaranteed him of a front-row start for Sunday final race (5 May).

The Vocalink-backed driver was quick straight out of the blocks on a drying track in qualifying, exchanging fastest times with Scuderia Vittoria’s Stefan Hodgetts and Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn.

Files topped the timesheets as the session was red-flagged in response to a pair of high-speed incidents but, at the restart, the session continued to build towards a spectacular climax.

Files became the first driver to breach the 1m24s barrier during the final five minutes, only to be pipped to pole position by the flying Lee Pattison as the times continued to tumble on an ever-improving track surface.

Speaking after qualifying, Files said: “It was an annoying session because I had three tenths over the rest of the field at the red flag and I really thought I had it in the bag. Then Pattison came along and put in a stonking lap!

“I’m naturally disappointed to miss out on pole position but I start second for both races and we can definitely translate that into race wins. The good thing for me is that my main championship foes are nowhere to be seen, so I have to capitalise on that.”

In echoes of Donington Park a fortnight ago, Files’ race was hampered by a relatively slow launch from the grid in Saturday’s first Clio Cup encounter (4 May).

The 22-year old was swallowed up by the chasing pack on the run through Allard and on to the Campbell, Cobb, Segrave complex.

An admirable resurgence from sixth place as those ahead of him faltered saw the flying Files re-assume second place as the race reached its conclusion.

However, the Norwich racer soon set about chasing after race leader Pattison, taking as much as half a second per lap out of his advantage.

Bolted to the rear of Pattison’s car, Files applied the pressure but was reluctant to force the issue too much, wary of losing the points for second place and damaging his bid for this year’s Clio Cup crown.

“A poor start was my downfall yet again – I need to sort it out,” said Files. “I think I drove well thereafter and I enjoyed battling with Pattison. It’s difficult passing around here at the best of times, but he defended brilliantly.

“I had the quicker car today but I ultimately had to preserve my championship position by taking the points for second place. I could have risked a lunge, but I knew I could have come off worst.”

Meanwhile, Files’ championship foe Paul Rivett made amends for a somewhat underwhelming qualifying by taking the chequered flag in fourth place, just behind fellow title challenger Alex Morgan in third place.

Round 6 of the Renault UK Clio Cup will commence at 12.42 on Sunday (5 May) and will be broadcast live and in high definition on ITV4 and ITV4HD.

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