Josh Files took a commanding victory at the first Hockenheim encounter, after already securing pole position earlier that day, behind the wheel of his Target Competition prepared Hyundai i30 N TCR car. He followed that up by an 8th place finish in the second race of the weekend to secure the current championship lead.
The 28-year-old Brit found excellent form from the off at the German circuit finishing the first Free Practice session P3 on used tyres just 0.3s from 1st. In the second Free Practice session Files again demonstrated his ambitions for the weekend by finishing 3rd, this time just 0.2s behind the leading Audi.
In the first part of the two-part qualifying session (Q1) Files left the pits and immediately set a time good enough for P1 on his first flying lap. As he then waited in the pits others started to improve their times, with Files dropping down the order slightly eventually finishing 8th.
In Q2 however, Files started his first flying lap with clear air ahead and put in three blistering sectors to set a lap of 1m 47.095s. This time stood until the end with Files therefore taking his first Pole Position of the season and a new track record for a TCR car!
At the start the lights extinguished very quickly meaning many made sluggish getaways. Unfazed by this however, Files made a good start, took the lead into turn 1 and was never headed from there. He took a lights-to-flag victory with the fastest lap of the race leading the 2nd placed driver home by over 2 and a half seconds.
Starting from 10th position on the reverse grid, Files made a good start and progressed to 7th by the end of lap 1. He then took 6th position as the safety car was deployed. Another driver unfortunately felt 6th position was his, and with the Race Director not able to make a quick decision Files elected to demote himself back to 7th. At the restart an intense 5-way battle began with positions swapping corner by corner. By the end of the 25 minute encounter, Files had done enough to secure 8th place by the flag, and with it take the championship lead.
“I’m completely overjoyed and slightly surprised by the weekend we’ve just had!” Files stated. “I really didn’t think we’d have this kind of pace given the current BOP situation so I’m happier than I ever thought would be possible. The guys at Target have done an amazing job extracting every last bit of performance from the car, I did my best to get every last bit of performance from myself also, and as a result we far exceeded our expectations this weekend”
“It’s great to also lead all championships including the TCR Benelux, which is great for our sponsor Autodis, but I know it’s early days yet. On that note I must again say thanks to Hyundai Motorsport for a great car, and AirWalk consulting for their continued support. Spa is only 10 days away now, so the focus is already switched to there. I can’t wait!”
Round 3 of the TCR Europe campaign will take place at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium on the weekend of June 7-9th.