Renault UK Clio Cup front-runner Josh Files achieved a stunning race win on his debut in the competitive Renault Eurocup Clio Championship at the iconic Imola circuit.
The 22 year old stunned the field on his first ever outing at the historic Italian venue, setting the pace in both free practice sessions before taking a pair of podiums in the races, giving the British racer the early championship lead.
Files lined up fifth on the 38-car grid for the opening race. Holding position for the first couple of laps, the Norfolk-based racer then went on the attack in changeable conditions, quickly working his way into third place.
Unrelenting pressure on the next driver ahead caused him to spin on lap six, promoting Files into second, with a clean pass three laps later giving him the lead. Immediately pulling away, the Team Pyro driver crossed the finish line three seconds clear, scoring an emphatic debut victoy.
The weekend’s second race saw Files drop a place to third at the start, before re-assuming second later on the opening lap. Breaking clear from the rest of the field with the leader, Files put him under unrelenting pressure throughout, but couldn’t find a way past, consolidating his win with a superb second place.
“We’ve just come away from our first outing in the Eurocup with a race win and a second place so I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Files, who is still chasing a first win in the UK series.
“Team Pyro has worked so hard and truly deserve these results. It has been a great weekend, we’re leading the championship and can only hope to carry this momentum on to the next round at Spa.”
The Eurocup sees Files competing in the new fourth generation Clio Cup car, which will make its debut in the UK series in 2014. Files got his first experience in the car at Snetterton back in April, shattering the lap record of the current third-generation car, and he is a big fan of the car.
“The new Clio really is a mega car,” he added. “We’ve made big inroads with it since our first test at Snetterton, the Team Pyro boys have done a fantastic job. I think if we went back to Snetterton tomorrow we’d be able to take another second at least off the lap time we did in April.”
The Eurocup returns to action at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium in three weeks, seven days before the Renault UK Clio Cup’s next rounds at Oulton Park on 8/9 June.