Team Pyro’s Josh Files became a double Champion by wrapping up the 2013 Renault Eurocup Clio title with a convincing win in Round 11 – the penultimate race of the season – at Motorland Aragon, Spain on Saturday (2 November).
Files has now won three championship titles – the 2010 Thoroughbred Sports Car Championship and the 2013 Renault UK and Eurocup Clio Championships – during a short career spanning just four years.
The 22-year old from Norwich has carried momentum and confidence from clinching the UK Clio Cup title in October and has utterly dominated proceedings in the concluding rounds of the 2013 Eurocup season.
Friday’s collective testing suggested Files would put on yet another dominant display in southern Spain, lighting up the timing screens in FP2 and going over six tenths faster than his closest challengers.
A chilly Spanish morning meant tyres took longer to reach their optimal temperature in qualifying on Saturday (2 November).
Turns 1 and 7 proved particularly troublesome for some, yielding low amounts of grip, although Files kept his nose clean throughout and gradually increased his pace as his Michelin tyres came to him.
Drivers frantically traded fastest times in the initial stages of qualifying, but two consecutive flying laps on his tenth and 11th tours of the 5.34km Alcaniz-based circuit propelled Files to the top of the timesheets with more than seven tenths in hand.
The 22-year old proved to be immovable with a best time of 2m17.992s and duly secured pole position for both Rounds 11 and 12, putting him in a prime position to seal the 2013 Eurocup Clio Championship title at Aragon.
However, a jerky launch from the grid in Round 11 meant the British Team Pyro contender fell into the clutches of second-placed Thomas Fjordbach as the field surged into Turn 1.
Maintaining a cool head, Files used a tow along the back straight to latch onto the rear of his Danish counterpart, before making a gutsy move for the lead around the outside of Turn 3 on the second lap.
Polar Seafood Racing’s Fjordbach tried to retaliate along the protracted straight that links Turns 15 and 16, but Files hugged the inside line under braking for the tight left-hand hairpin and then gapped the chasing pack by consistently setting purple first sectors.
With his main championship rivals, Nicolas Milan and Massimiliano Pedala, in third and fourth places respectively early on, the title fight looked like it would go down to Round 12 on Sunday.
However, a ragged second half of the race from Pedala saw the Composit Motorsport driver tumble down to seventh at the flag, making Files mathematically unreachable with one race remaining and the Renault Eurocup Clio Champion of 2013.
“I really wanted this and I was not going to lose that race,” said a jubilant Files. “While it was a huge thing to win the UK Clio Cup, the Eurocup Clio Championship was the one I desired the most and I wanted to do it in style by winning the race. It’s a bit of a cliché to say, but it does mean everything to me. It’s perfect! It has been a phenomenal year and it’s feels mega to win a national and European title in the same year.”
Files will once again start from pole position in Round 12 – the final race of the 2013 Renault Eurocup Clio Championship – which is scheduled to begin at 12.45 tomorrow (Sunday 3 November).
For more information on Josh Files' racing activities, please visit the official www.joshfiles.co.uk website, 'like' his Facebook page or follow @JoshFiles on Twitter.