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Round-up: Spa-Francorchamps crash puts Files on back foot

PUBLISHED: 11:01 12 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:01 12 June 2019

After a mammoth effort from the Target Competition crew to repair Josh Files� heavily-damaged Hyundai i30 N TCR in just three hours the Poringland racer was able to take part in the opening TCR Europe race at Spa-Francorchamps Picture: TCR Europe

After a mammoth effort from the Target Competition crew to repair Josh Files� heavily-damaged Hyundai i30 N TCR in just three hours the Poringland racer was able to take part in the opening TCR Europe race at Spa-Francorchamps Picture: TCR Europe

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Having taken the TCR Europe Championship lead at the previous round, Josh Files finds himself well and truly on the back foot after almost writing off his Hyundai i30 N during qualifying for the latest round at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

Josh Files� immaculate Target Competition-prepared Hyundai i30 N TCR during the Spa-Francorchamps TCR Europe round minutes before the Poringland racer crashed while chasing a qualifying lap Picture: TCR EuropeJosh Files� immaculate Target Competition-prepared Hyundai i30 N TCR during the Spa-Francorchamps TCR Europe round minutes before the Poringland racer crashed while chasing a qualifying lap Picture: TCR Europe

"As days go, that's up there with the worst," the Poringland racer told TouringCars.Net, having retired out of the opening race with a puncture, after being forced off track while trying to make amends for his earlier crash.

The weekend had looked promising as Files was among the leading contenders in the free practice sessions, but after his qualifying lap time was scrubbed by officials, for exceeding track limits, the local racer pushed hard to squeeze every bit of pace out of his Hyundai, but overstepped the mark and crashed heavily at the fearsome Raidillon Corner.

The accident left the car a total wreck, with just three hours before the first race, but somehow the Target Competition crew managed to repair it sufficiently for Files to take to the grid in 33rd place.

Files made up 12 places on the opening lap, but to no avail as a collision shortly after sent him into retirement.

Dan Zelos in car 445, supported by Evergreen Tyres/CAM Systems, heads for the podium in the second of the Mini JCW Challenge races at Silverstone as the Dereham racer continues his quest to secure the title Picture: Dan BuckelDan Zelos in car 445, supported by Evergreen Tyres/CAM Systems, heads for the podium in the second of the Mini JCW Challenge races at Silverstone as the Dereham racer continues his quest to secure the title Picture: Dan Buckel

An overnight engine change, as the original unit had been damaged in the accident, saw Files once more start race two from 33rd place and he fought up to 16th by the finish, which became 14th after post-race penalties were applied, earning him three championship points and leaving him down in fourth place, 32 points off the new series leader Julien Briche.

"We're definitely contenders," declared Dan Zelos after bagging another podium finish in the Mini JCW Challenge at Silverstone for the Evergreen Tyres/CAM Systems-supported racer.

Qualifying would be the Dereham youngster's first taste of the Grand Prix layout in the dry as pre-event testing was held on an almost flooded track.

"The conditions were just about the worst I've encountered," said Zelos, who went on to claim fourth place on the grid.

Dereham’s Dan Zelos happy with his podium finish in the latest round of the Mini JCW Challenge at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit with the Mini UK VIP team run by the locally based EXCELR8 squad Picture: Dan BuckelDereham’s Dan Zelos happy with his podium finish in the latest round of the Mini JCW Challenge at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit with the Mini UK VIP team run by the locally based EXCELR8 squad Picture: Dan Buckel

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A demon start saw Zelos grab second, but an ambitious move to grab the lead away from series leader James Gornall slightly backfired.

"I thought I could be a hero by sending it around the outside going through Maggotts and Becketts, but the rear just stepped out on me," he added. "I managed to correct a big slide, but it put me on the grass.

"If you think you have a chance, you have to give it a go and we still came away with a top-four finish.

"In race two, I genuinely believe we would have won had I not been sent sideways on the opening lap. The contact knocked my tracking out again, and whilst the driver that hit me later apologised it did cost us a real shot at victory," added Zelos, who managed to finish third to consolidate fourth place in the title race.

"A solid weekend," is how East Lexham's Lewis Galer summed up his first experience of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit with the 16-year-old finishing race one in 14th, improving one position in the second encounter.

The diminutive Ford Ka is an unlikely race car but the new-for-this-season EnduroKa endurance series heads to Snetterton this weekend for its second ever race, a 12-hour event.

Twenty four cars started the inaugural race at Donington Park in early April with 21 classified as finishers in the five-hour race, but double the distance and more will not only test the drivers but the pit crews in keeping the Kas on track.

The Burton Power Racing team of Andy Burton, Ashley Davies and Tom Valentine triumphed in the opening race with the G & B Finch squad of James Baxter, Steve Finch, Ben Smith and Vince Turp determined to get revenge.

The MSVT Trackday Trophy, with Attleborough's Ray Honeybone a leading exponent, All-Comers and the Z Cars complete the programme of races on Saturday, which starts at 10.55am, with the endurance race getting underway at 9.10am on Sunday.

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