Files eases to opening race victory at Hockenheim

by Phil Kinch

Josh Files converted pole position for race one into victory after a controlled drive in round three of the 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series at the Hockenheimring in Germany.

The Target Competition driver was able to get a clean start off the line and steadily built a gap as the rest of the field fought it out over the twenty-three minutes plus one lap race.

The run to the second corner saw a lot of jostling for positions, however, the field made it through cleanly with Files defending from the fast-starting Luca Engstler ahead of Maxime Potty in the WRT Volkswagen and joint championship leader Gilles Magnus in the Comtoyou Racing Audi.

Luca Engstler secured second place in his first home TCR Europe race. Credit: WSC Ltd / TCR Europe

Santiago Urrutia in the WRT Audi lost a lot of ground off the start and was fighting to make up places in the early laps. Andreas Bäckman and Julien Briché were two more drivers who made up places in the early laps, running nose to tail as they passed Aurélien Comte for fifth place.

2018 TCR UK champion Daniel Lloyd has a slow start off the line but was soon up to ninth place by the end of lap one. His race would end a lap later at turn two, making contact with an unsighted Comte as the Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda driver tried to pass Luca Filippi in the BRC Hyundai. Lloyd retired on the spot with a broken front right wheel.

Norwegian driver Stian Paulsen was another driver to retire on lap two, having made contact with Target Competition team-mates Mat’o Homola and Dusan Borković. The CUPRA driver retired on the front straight.

Lloyd was making good progress before retiring from contact. Credit: WSC Ltd/ TCR Europe

Homola was also involved in contact with Gianni Morbidelli at the hairpin, which also saw the WestCoast Racing pilot retire his Volkswagen on the spot.

As Files built his gap, Potty began to challenge Engstler for second place. Further, back Filippi was fending off both Comte and Urrutia for seventh place, with both drivers getting past on lap four. Filippi would later spin off after contact from Borković and retire with a broken front splitter.

Coronel made up ten places to finish in eleventh place in race one. Credit: WSC Ltd / TCR Europe

The Safety Car made a late race appearance due to several cars being stranded in the various gravel traps including Homola who was beached at the Sachskurve in the stadium.

Racing resumed with six minutes left of the race, however, Files was not to be denied as he pulled away once more. The British driver took his first victory of the year ahead of Engstler, Potty, Briché and Andreas Bäckman.

Behind the top five, Urrutia finally passed Comte for sixth place ahead of Magnus in eighth place. Brothers Teddy Clairet and Jimmy Clairet completed the top ten places.

Eighth place for Magnus means that he drops to second in the standings. Credit: WSC Ltd / TCR Europe

Files now holds a seventeen point lead ahead of Magnus with Panciatici now in third place. Dániel Nagy, Borkovic and Homola are all tied for fourth place.

Race two gets underway on Sunday at 10:25 am BST with Julien Briché in pole position on the reversed grid and Jessica Bäckman alongside. Daniel Lloyd starts in third place and will be looking to make up for his race one retirement.

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