28-year-old British driver continued his fine form from Red Bull Ring through round 5 of the TCR Europe season in Oschersleben, Germany. He finished both races on the podium in 3rd position and more importantly ahead of all title rivals meaning he extended his championship lead at the top of the table to a massive 78 points.
During the Free Practice Sessions Files was struggling with a few technical issues later put down to a suspected damaged sub frame. The Target Competition boys went to work overnight on Friday in order to prepare the car ready for Saturday morning all important qualifying session.
For the first part of qualifying (Q1) Files managed a 1m 30.813s lap which was enough to secure his place in the Q2 pole position shootout. Still struggling with the same issue that plagued Fridays running however, he could only manage a 1m 31.112s in Q2 though this was enough for P9 on the grid which meant a front row start for the reverse grid race too.
Files made an excellent start in Race 1 to propel himself into 5thplace by turn 1 from P9. He had Target Competition’s new recruit Dominik Baumann in tow perfectly defending Files, who was still suffering the unknown issue. They would go on to finish 5th and 6th on the road, but after post-race penalties and technical infringements Files would go on to secure another podium finish.
Starting 2nd for Race 2 Files was optimistic of a potential victory with team having worked tirelessly on the car overnight. An unusually bad start for the Brit however meant he lost a place and was down to 3rd by turn one. An intense 25-minute battle ensued with the top 9 covered by just 4 seconds throughout the race, but due to the closeness of the competition no one was able to fully attack meaning the race became a status quo. Files therefore finished again on the podium in 3rd place.
His key rivals in the title fight were all behind on the road meaning he came out of the weekend 78 points ahead of the second place man Luca Engstler, extending that lead by 42 points from the 36-point advantage held after Red Bull Ring.
“As weekends go points wise it couldn’t have gone much better if we tried really. From a personal perspective I feel I drove the best I could have given the situation with weight and BOP.” Said Files
“We’ve been chasing a small issue all weekend that’s had a big influence on overall performance, and I can’t thank all of the boys at Target enough for working all hours of the night and so calmly and methodically though everything in a bid to sort it. We haven’t quite found the answer yet, but we made the car better throughout the weekend to deal with it, and rest assured we will come back fighting for wins again in Barcelona!”
There is now a 7-week Summer break before the penultimate round of the season which is to be held in Barcelona on the 20-22nd September.