28-year-old British driver scored an outstanding victory at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Austria, his second of the season, in the first encounter on Saturday afternoon. With it, he took over the championship lead in the drivers table. He further extended his lead with a breath-taking drive in the second race finishing in 2nd place from 9th on the reverse grid race.
Files was sporting an all new car for round 4 of the TCR Europe season at Red Bull Ring after his dramatic qualifying crash in the 3rd round meant the car was written off. As a result, Files had to overcome minor teething issues in the Friday Free Practice sessions in preparation for the two-part qualifying session to be held Saturday morning.
In the first segment, Q1, Files was fastest overall posting a time of 1m36.211s, a new track record in a TCR car. Going into Q2 he again pushed to extract everything out of his Target Competition prepared Hyundai i30N TCR car and bettered his Q1 effort, setting a lap of 1m36.169. He was however pipped to Pole position by a mere 5 thousandths of a second and therefore started race one in 2nd place.
In Race 1, Files made a fast start and took the lead of the race into turn 1. Never headed he began to ease away from the chasing pack before a safety intervened to clear a 6 car pile-up. When the safety car lights went out, Files made one of his usual blinding restarts and lead the field by over 0.8s at the line. Again he set about making a gap at the front, taking the fastest lap of the race and new lap record to win his second race of the season.
Starting from P9 in race 2 Files made an initially quick getaway before the car then bogged down. Losing ground at the start he was down to 12th place as the rain started to fall dampening the track surface with all the runners still on their slick, dry weather tyres. In what can only be described as ‘ideal’ conditions for the Brit, he set about making up position after position, up to 5th place by the final lap. Into turn 3 he made a move on two fighting rivals to overtake both and therefore a get himself into a podium position. Two corners later the leading car went off the road meaning Files could snatch 2nd place at the line and a total of 79 points from the weekend, with a maximum of 85 on offer.
“I mean what can I say really! As dream weekends go this has to be up there. I have to give all the credit to Target Competition and Hyundai to supply and rebuild a brand new car for this weekend. Without their belief and effort, this wouldn’t have been possible.” Files expressed.
“Race 1 was amazing for me, I had strong pace and could stretch my legs at my favourite circuit. Race 2 was just wild and amazing fun; just how touring cars should be! I’m honestly overjoyed I could repay the boys in this way, and we are now right back in the title hunt! A huge thanks has to go to our loyal sponsors too, without them it wouldn’t be possible!”
TCR Europe will resume on the weekend of August 2nd - 4th at the German circuit of Oschersleben 2 hours West of Berlin.