Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona in Spain hosted the penultimate round of the 2019 TCR Europe championship, which saw British racer Josh Files shine in both wet and dry conditions, despite his Target Competition prepared Hyundai i30 N TCR car carrying more than 110kg of ballast over most of the competition.

During the Free Practice sessions on Friday, the 28-year-old was going through his usual processes with his engineer to establish car setups for both race simulations and qualifying. In qualifying trim especially, Files managed to set a lap in the second session to put him P2 overall.

The weather had turned however for qualifying with heavy rain falling. This would be the first time the Brit and Target Competition had run the Hyundai’s in the wet with the new Yokohama rain tyres equipped. This didn’t deter them however, and Files posted the 3rd quickest time in the first segment of qualifying (Q1) before bettering that in Q2 to start race one from the front row in 2nd place, a great achievement by everyone.

Files made a relatively slow start in Race 1 falling to 3rd place, but regaining 2nd in turn 2. From there he chased leader, and championship rival, Julien Briche, but was unable to mount a full attack, ally to the extra 110kg weight on board. He finished a magnificent 2nd however, and closed in on the championship in doing so. However, post race Files was given a 30 second penalty for a start infringement dropping him down to 22nd in the final order. Two of his title rivals were also given penalties for the same infringement, but only 5 seconds instead of the 30 that Files received.

Starting Race 2 in 9th position on the partially reversed grid race, Files made a good start and rose to 8th place by the end of lap one. He picked his way up to 7th after a short safety car intervention, before then taking 6th and 5th on laps 7 and 8. He then started to chase down the leading quartet, getting within half a second, but ran out of time to make an attack and therefore had to settle for 5th place at the line. He leaves the venue still in the championship lead with a 48 point advantage, over nearest rival Julien Briche, to set up a two way showdown heading to the final round in Monza in just two weeks time.

“Well what can I say about this weekend?” Files said “We had great speed courtesy of all the work the Target boys do, and again we worked methodically through the setup together as a team. As a result we exceeded expectations qualifying 2nd in the rain and finishing 2nd and 5th on the road in the races.”

“I’m really happy with our performance; we didn’t have anything else left to give, which I think we demonstrated perfectly. It’s a shame about race one’s penalty, which honestly no one really understands but I’m not going to go into details about my thoughts!”

“On the bright side, Target won the Teams championship in Barcelona, and we are not far away from the Drivers title too, with 85 points on offer and a 48 point cushion, you can guarantee we will be pushing like crazy in Monza to take some more wins to see the season out!”

The final TCR Europe weekend will take place at the ‘temple of speed’ Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in Italy on the weekend of 11th-13th October.