Sensational win for Files on awe-inspiring Eurocup Clio debut at Imola

Josh Files achieved a sensational race win and leads the standings following an awe-inspiring debut in the super-competitive Renault Eurocup Clio Championship at Italy’s evocative Imola circuit (11-12 May).

Files, aged 22, stunned the competition by setting the pace in both free practice sessions (Friday 10 May) on his first ever outing at the historic Italian venue.

The young British driver recorded a best time of 2m02.665s to be almost a second faster than the rest at the end of FP1 and concluded a keenly contested second practice session with a late glory run that left the pack trailing once again.

The Norwich-based racer lined-up fifth on the 38-car grid for the much-anticipated opening Eurocup Clio clash at Imola.

From pole position, Massimiliano Pedala led Daniele Perfetti at the completion of the first lap, while former Eurocup Champion Nicolas Milan rounded-out the podium places having taken advantage of a three-car pile-up at Turn 6.

Files, meanwhile, stayed out of trouble and held station in fifth place. He was on terms with the leading quartet at the end of lap two and soon deposed Perfetti and Eric Tremoulet for third place, as Milan began setting fastest laps in his pursuit of Pedala.

Unrelenting pressure from behind and the changeable conditions caused Pedala to spin on lap six, gifting Milan the initiative and Files second place.

However, Files chased down and trounced Milan with a clean pass three laps later and immediately proceeded to gap those behind him.

The determined Team Pyro racer had a three second advantage over his nearest challenger on his way to the chequered flag and an emphatic maiden victory on his debut in the ultra-competitive Eurocup Clio Championship.

Files consolidated the race win with a highly respectable second place in the weekend’s final Eurocup Clio encounter.

The 22-year old was passed by Thomas Fjordbach off the start, but reassumed second place before the end of lap one to commence his pursuit of pole-man Pedala.

Files was unremitting in his charge and the leading duo soon had a comfortable buffer over the rest of the field, with Perfetti keeping Fjordbach busy in the fight for third place.

There was a spirited race-long battle for the lead, but Pedala was unfazed by Files’ advances, soaking up the pressure and leading the Briton across the finish line.

Following a highly successful debut in the Eurocup Clio Championship, Files said: “We’ve just come away from our first outing in the Eurocup with a race win and a second place so I’m absolutely thrilled.

“It was damp to say the least at the start of race one, but I kept it on the black stuff and gradually picked off the competition as the circuit dried out and my confidence grew. Without sounding cocky, it was strangely simple.

Files added: “I felt really comfortable in race two, but Pedala defended perfectly and I wouldn’t have been able to pass without hitting him. But it’s a long season and I don’t want to make any enemies just yet.

“Team Pyro has worked so hard and truly deserve these results. It has been a great weekend, we’re leading the championship and can only hope to carry this momentum on to the next round at Spa.”

The 2013 Eurocup Clio Championship continues at the spectacular Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium on 1-2 June.

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