Josh Files gets new campaign off to stunning start with a Middle East double
- Credit: Archant
Josh Files made a stunning start to the new season with a dominant display on his debut in the TCR Middle East series at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Circuit.
The Poringland racer, and reigning TCR Germany champion, drove a JAS-built Honda Civic for the locally-based Lap57 Motorsport team and ended up with two victories after setting the pace in both qualifying sessions.
Files was quick to praise the contribution of both the car and the team. 'The car Lap57 and JAS produced this weekend was just awesome and I can't thank them enough,' he said.
Files secured pole position for the opening race around the Formula 1 track, but fell behind the Alfa Romeo Giulietta of Davit Kajaia.
'I didn't make a great start,' admitted Files. 'Davit was very fast in a straight line and getting past was difficult.
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'It was a case of, 'I'm coming through, with or without your permission', but he seemed to make a mistake in one corner and that gave me the chance to come through.'
With victory secured, Files and the team set about fine-tuning the Honda which saw the local racer set a stunning lap time in the qualifying session for race two.
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The top six finishers from race one are reversed to form the front of the grid for race two, but it made little difference to Files, who carved his way through the cars ahead to lead by the end of the opening lap.
'It all comes down to the start,' he said. 'I was actually in a position to go into the first corner four abreast with the Golf cars, but I thought, 'this will end in a crash'. I got past two of them in turns three and four and I then just had Luca (Engstler) in front of me and he pretty much let me past in the first chicane.'
Topcroft's European, Winter and Challenge Grand Final karting champion Harry Webb is the first driver to sign up to compete in the new SsangYong Racing Challenge.
The local racer will make the transition to the pick-up series after his debut season on the race circuits where he finished in sixth place, and leading newcomer, in the 750 Motor Club's Formula Vee Championship. The series kicks off on Webb's home circuit of Snetterton in mid-May and concludes at Brands Hatch in late October.