Josh Files finally broke his Renault UK Clio Cup race win duck with a dominant lights to flag success in a truncated Round 9 at Croft.
After successfully negotiating a red-flag restart, the Team Pyro racer couldn’t be caught as he stormed to the flag to secure his first UK Clio Cup victory in his 41st race in the series.
“Achieving this win is a massive monkey off my back and I want to do it more often,” said an ecstatic Files. “A bit of doubt was starting to creep in, but I never gave up because I know I’m quick and I absolutely love it here at Croft. I’m chuffed!”
The first run of the race was red-flagged three laps in following a heavy impact with the barriers at the exit of the chicane for Devon Modell. While the driver was able to emerge unscathed, the same can’t be said for his Clio, with terminal damage leaving his Scuderia Vittoria team with the difficult task of sourcing him a replacement car for tomorrow’s race.
At the restart, an average getaway for pole-sitter Files meant that fellow front-row starter Jordan Stilp was able to challenge for the lead into Clervaux. Files maintained his line though and held him off, with Stilp getting pushed wide and back to sixth.
Stefan Hodgetts assumed second and made a challenge on Files at Tower on lap one, but couldn’t find a way past. It proved to be his only opportunity to try and pass the leader, with a dominant Files instantly pulling clear at the front, going on to win by 4.4 seconds.
Hodgetts had his mirrors filled throughout the race with the bright blue Clio of Josh Cook, however the KX Akademy member was able to hold off any advances from behind to take his fourth consecutive podium finish.
Cook took his third podium finish of the season in third, just ahead of his JHR Developments team-mate, Masters Cup winner Lee Pattison. Championship leader Paul Rivett had a fairly uneventful run to fifth at the flag, with a lot of the action taking place behind him in the battle for sixth.
The fight for a top six finish went down to the final lap, with Ant Whorton-Eales holding the place until the last corner, when Ash Hand squeezed by at the hairpin to take his best finish of the year so far, with Whorton-Eales just holding onto seventh ahead of Alex Morgan after being edged out onto the grass. James Colburn and Josh Wakefield rounded out the top ten.
Stilp meanwhile finished in a lowly twentieth place after having to serve a drive-through penalty for a false start in the original start, before then receiving another drive-through for having damaged bodywork removed from his car during his initial trip through the pits.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2013/132503cli.pdf