Josh Files have described winning the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup as a ‘dream come true’ after wrapping up the title on the final weekend of the season at Brands Hatch.
With chief title foe Paul Rivett side-lined by injury, Files headed into the last two rounds of the season knowing just a double exclusion for himself, and a double win for Team Pyro stable-mate Alex Morgan, would deprive him of the title.
The weekend didn’t start to plan for the Norwich-based racer, an innocuous slide into the Druids gravel trap in Friday testing becoming a big incident when a carbon-copy lock-up for team-mate Ash Hand resulted in heavy contact with Files’ stationary car.
A great effort by Pyro overnight ensured both cars made it out in qualifying the next day, with Files rewarding the team with fourth on the grid for the opening race.
Knowing just a finish would secure him the crown, Files was naturally cautious at the start of the race, initially slipping back to fifth around the first bend.
He fought back later in the lap to regain the place though, and a composed drive to the flag saw him successfully negotiate two safety car interventions en-route to a fourth place finish and the title.
“It’s hard to describe how I feel, because it’s a dream come true,” said Files. “I didn’t want to believe it before this weekend, but the realisation that I’m champion has hit me. The car wasn’t on song and I wish I had had the chance to go up against Paul Rivett on the track but, at the end of the race, I’ve won a championship, which is perfect!
“I couldn’t have asked for more because so much hard work has gone into this over the last three years. Team Pyro has done an awesome job all season long and I’d like to thank Bacs and Vocalink for their support too. They’ve enabled me and the team to be competitive and, ultimately, be in a position to win the title.”
With the pressure off, Files headed into the final race of the season with a race win in his sights. Starting on the front row, Files maintained the place until Graham Hill bend when a bump from behind sent him wide and into the pack.
Back in fourth, Files found himself on the defensive throughout the race as three safety car interventions kept the field bunched together. The newly-crowned champion eventually lose one place to Morgan, bringing his car home in fifth.
“I have to say, that was a very feisty race,” he added. “It was a bit stupid actually. I got the biggest clout at Graham Hill Bend on the opening lap and that sent both me and James Colburn off. I managed to get through that, but everyone seemed to have an end of term ‘let’s just smash it up’ attitude.
“Still, I finished the race and it was really treacherous out there. It was really hard work, but Team Pyro and I have done a really good job, capping off the year perfectly. Nothing could take away from the mega year we’ve had.”