Josh Files secured the TCR Europe title in Monza at the end of the very last race, in which he took his third win of the season beating a determined Julien Briché who never gave up.
The Briton had already staked a serious claim on the championship crown with a great recovery from P9 on the grid to finish third in yesterday’s Race 1. Today he ended his superb season in style with a masterpiece race that saw him taking the lead during the opening lap and then building a small gap that enabled him to resist Briché’s attentions during the final laps.
The Frenchman had to recover 33 points in the standings and needed a miracle to succeed in this task. However, he tried until the very end, making a long series of overtaking moves to finish as runner-up in both the race and the championship.
Daniel Lloyd completed the podium after he was deservedly reinstated into third place by a ten-second penalty imposed on Aurélien Comte for gaining an unfair advantage during the final lap.
Amongst the other competitors, a mention is needed for Santiago Urrutia, who scored a sixth place that rewarded him with third position in the final standings ahead of Andreas Bäckman. Dominik Baumann completed a great recovery from 23rd on the grid to tenth at the end of the race; a result that was denied to the Brazilian rookie Guilherme Salas who started from P28, climbed to 14th, but retired on the final lap with a technical issue.
Grid – Gavrilov lost his seventh place on the reversed grid, as he was demoted to the back of the field following an engine change
Start – Potty starts well from pole ahead of Files, Magnus and Lloyd
Lap 1 – Files overtakes Potty for the lead at the Roggia chicane; A. Bäckman goes off at Lesmo and rejoins at the back; Taoufik is sent into a spin at Ascari; Lloyd overtakes Magnus for P4; Briché and Comte are sixth and seventh
Lap 2 – Lloyd overtakes Potty for P2; Briché overtakes Morbidelli at Ascari for P5; Magnus overtakes Potty for P3 at the Parabolica
Lap 3 – Comte overtakes Morbidelli for P6; Briché overtakes Potty for P4 at the first chicane; Comte overtakes Potty for P5
Lap 4 – Briché overtakes Magnus for P3 at the first chicane; Magnus serves a drive-through for a jump start; T. Clairet overtakes Morbidelli and Potty for P6
Lap 5 – Files leads by 0.6 seconds over Lloyd, Briché follows a further 0.7 seconds behind; Panciatici goes off at Ascari and pits
Lap 6 – Ryba goes off into the gravel at the Roggia chicane
Lap 7 – Paulsen and Kangas make contact at the first chicane; Urrutia passes Potty for P7
Lap 8 – Briché overtakes Lloyd for P2 at the first chicane
Lap 9 – Paulsen is given a drive-through for track limits; Gavrilov retires with a technical issue
Lap 10 – The leading quartet of Files, Briché, Lloyd and Comte is covered by two seconds
Lap 11 – Briché goes straight at the first chicane and he’s 0.7 seconds behind Files
Lap 12 – Files and Briché fight for the lead; Lloyd takes to the inside at the Parabolica and defends third place from Comte
Lap 13 – Comte goes straight at the first chicane and then passes Lloyd at the Roggia for P3, but is given a ten-second penalty for gaining an unfair advantage and so drops to seventh, while Lloyd is promoted to third behind Files and Briché
1. Josh Files (Target Competition, Hyundai i30 N), 13 laps
2. Julien Briché (JSB Compétition, Peugeot 308), 1.223
3. Daniel Lloyd (Brutal Fish Racing Team, Honda Civic FK7), 5.739
4. Teddy Clairet (Team Clairet Sport, Peugeot 308), 13.829
5. Gianni Morbidelli (WestCoast Racing, Volkswagen Golf GTI), 14.038
1. Files 352 pts; 2. Briché 314; 3. Urrutia 234