Team Pyro’s Josh Files salvaged a podium finish from an agonising Renault Eurocup Clio Championship weekend plagued by indeterminable mechanical issues (20-21 July).
Austria’s spectacular Red Bull Ring played host to the latest World Series by Renault (WSR) event, which included Rounds 5 and 6 of the 2013 Eurocup Clio Championship.
Files entered the weekend second in the overall standings with the objective of re-claiming the championship initiative, setting out his stall early by producing the fastest lap in Friday’s practice sessions.
However, qualifying on Saturday would be a frustrating affair, with Files baffled by a relative lack of pace that saw him line-up out of position in sixth place on the grid.
An intermittent turbo problem became more pronounced as the weekend progressed and left Files with a noticeable straight-line speed deficiency during the races.
The Briton drove on the ragged edge to negate the loss of power in Round 5 and received the chequered flag in a highly respectable fifth place.
But from fourth on the grid in the second Eurocup Clio encounter (Round 6), Files took advantage of a brawl between Oscar Nogues and Nicolas Milan to move up into the podium places.
An intense battle for victory involving Massimiliano Pedala and pole-man Thomas Fjoardbach ensued, but Files’ turbo issues became increasingly debilitating and prevented him from challenging the leading duo.
He staunchly defended his position in the opening laps; bravery through the corners eventually allowing him to gap the chasing pack and cross the line in a sensational third place.
However, Files was later classified second after Fjordbach was penalised for repeatedly exceeding track limits; a stunning display in damage limitation helping him maintain second in the standings with a 16-point deficit to Pedala.
“I have mixed thoughts about what happened at the Red Bull Ring because, while it’s really frustrating and Team Pyro is distraught, I feel I excelled in the way I drove,” said Files. “I didn’t really notice the problem in qualifying, but it got worse as time went on.
“I started losing power every other lap and it got to the point where I was two and a half seconds off the pace I showed in free practice – the leading pair just drove away from me in a straight line in the second race. Even Renaultsport was baffled by the problem, but what Team Pyro and I have done in the last couple of weekends, overcoming our troubles and still taking solid points finishes, it just remarkable.”
There is a lengthy hiatus before Rounds 7 and 8 of the Renault Eurocup Clio Championship commence at France’s Paul Ricard circuit on 28 and 29 September.
For more information on the 2013 Eurocup Clio Championship, visit the World Series by Renault website.
In addition, regular updates on Josh Files’ racing activities can be found on the official www.joshfiles.co.uk website, on his Facebook page or by following @JoshFiles on Twitter.