by Lewis Beales
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Like many of his rivals Josh Files is hoping to use the Renault Clio Cup as a springboard to the British Touring Car Championship, resulting in some robust racing as the Poringland racer has found to his cost.
The Norfolk racer finished a frustrated sixth overall in the end of the season points chart after a season which promised more than it delivered, exemplified by the final race of the year.
Files, always quick at Brands Hatch, gambled on a mixture of tyres for the greasy track conditions in qualifying, fitting dry tyres to the front and wet tyres to the rear, helping him to secure pole position for both of the final races.
“Double pole at Brands again,” remarked Files who had secured the prime starting spots for the opening two races of the season at the Kent track.
“It’s my track this one, I love it. I went out there and grabbed it by the horns and hustled it through the bends and it worked out.
“I’m hoping to come away with two race wins as that’s what I came into this weekend wanting.”
Starting from pole position on the heavily cambered grid at Brands can be tricky, as the 21- year-old racer found out, having to follow fellow front row starter Stefan Hodgetts through the first corner.
Files pushed hard to try and take his first Clio Cup victory and briefly got his nose in front, after a bit of contact, but elected to hand back the position instead of evoking the wrath of race officials.
“It was a hard-fought race and Hodgetts wasn’t giving any room at all so I gave him a little tap at Druids to pass,” confirmed the Direct Debit’s Big Break campaign supported racer.
“We were right on his tail for the whole race and I think our car was better, bring on tomorrow. It’ll be another hard battle because Hodgetts is alongside again, so we’ll do the same and hopefully hold on to the win this time”.
However Sunday brought nothing but frustration as Files rolled out of the final race of the season.
Hodgetts again beat him to the first corner, resulting in Files being clipped from behind and in the melee he found himself at the back of the field before colliding with the Clearways crash barriers which tipped him onto to his side.
“What a complete disaster,” said Files. “The start was good, but I was pushed on to the wet grass and lost momentum.
“I managed to recover at the tail end of the field but I then suffered a massive lock-up at Clearways, possibly as a result of damage from the first-corner incident.”
“On the whole, the weekend was pretty encouraging. We were definitely quicker than everybody else. I had hoped to translate my two pole positions into at least one race win.
“But we’ll come back bigger and stronger next year and I know we’ll dominate.”