27-year-old British driver Josh Files scored two unexpected podium finishes in the fastest circuit on the calendar, Monza. The Italian circuit was expected to be a difficult weekend for the Honda team given their straight line speed deficit against the other TCR models.
Free practice one started with an electrical problem, later traced back to an ECU issue meaning Files could not take part and set a representative lap. For the first part of free practice two, Files also found himself in the pits with a small gearbox issue, quickly fixed by his KCMG team. When he did set an initial lap time, his first ‘flying’ lap put him P3 overall. After a small car adjustment, the brit then went on to cover 2 more laps and ended the session a surprising 1st overall!
For the first part of the 2-part qualifying session Files again went out alone whilst others were trying to find slip streams to help find extra speed during their laps. His initial lap of 1m 58.901 was good enough for P3 and put him safely through to the Q2 pole position shootout. For Q2 the team elected to put Files at the front of a Honda train with team mate Attila Tassi tucked in just behind and the 2 other Honda cars run by THX racing also in tow. A blistering lap from Files of 1m 58.468 put him P4 on the grid with team mate Tassi taking full advantage of the slip stream effect to go 3rd just 0.003s ahead though.
After a fast start for Files he was up to P3 at the end of lap one with team mate Tassi sitting behind in 4th. It was quickly clear that the speed disadvantage would play its hand in the race and a tough defence was the answer. Files managed to hold on to his 3rd place and finished on the podium for the third time this season.
Starting from 7th on the reverse grid Files again made a good start and muscled his way up to 4th by the end of lap 1. A lap later he made a superb move on the exit of the turn 4 chicane to take 3rd place and move into another podium position. The safety car was called and on the restart Files made another huge move in the turn 4 chicane to take 2nd place also allowing team mate Tassi through into the final podium place.
“What an absolute mega weekend! I wasn’t sure if we would even make the top 10 let alone two podium finishes. I’m absolutely over the moon! Better still Attila was right there with me and we massively closed the gap in the Teams Championship to just 7 points!” Explained Files
“I’ve had really great pace all weekend, and we’ve been able to help all the Honda guys which makes me really happy for these results. HELL Energy by KCMG did a mega job, the car was on point and I can’t thank them all enough! Bring on Barcelona….”
The final round of the season will take place in Barcleona, Spain at the Circuit de Catalunya on the 19th-21stOctober.