THOMPSON THIRD IN CHAMPIONSHIP
N.Technology Alfa Romeo came close to winning the Drivers FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) this weekend, following two stunning races from James Thompson in the season finale at Macau.
A superb first race saw the British driver climb from eighth to a fifth place finish within the last two laps at the wheel of his Alfa Romeo 156, promoting him to third in the drivers championship with only one nine-lap race to go.
Becoming Andy Priaulx's only rival in the title chase as Yvan Muller failed to start today's second race, Thompson needed the win and a retirement for Priaulx to become this year's WTCC champion.
Starting the race in fourth place, a stunning start saw Thompson climb up to second and challenge Priaulx for the lead. Constant pressure from third-place Nicola Larini kept Thompson busy however with Larini eventually passing the N.Technology driver for second.
With only two laps to go, Thompson defended his third place against Tiago Monteiro until the chequered flag, consolidating his third place in the 2007 drivers championship and becoming the third N.Technology driver to do so. Fabrizio Giovanardi finished third in 2005 with Augusto Farfus claiming the same championship standing last year.
With the season now over, Thompson becomes the only driver to score two wins in one weekend this year (Valencia) as well as the WTCC-field's top scorer since Anderstorp. Taking his eighth podium today, the British driver's third place in the 2007 drivers standings also pitched the Alfa Romeo 156 ahead of Chevrolet.
N.Technology guest driver Andre Couto was unable to take part in both races following an incident in yesterday's qualifying, which damaged his car beyond repair.
Thompson driving through the streets of Macau
James Thompson, car number 15
"Surprised, relieved; I have a lot of emotions running through me right now! Everyone knows our situation this year and to have been the only man challenging the reigning champion in the last race of the year is fantastic!
"When I was running second, I couldn't help but think that it could happen. Andy (Priaulx) could run off, we've seen stranger things happen! Larini was very fast though and we did really well to keep ahead of him and other cars this weekend.
"A little bit of disappointment, we could have been runner-up in the championship if we'd finished second in the last race but it really doesn't detract from an amazing end to our season. If someone had told me I would be third in the drivers championship at the end of the year, I would have smiled and said no way!"
Mauro Sipsz, Team principal
"For N.Technology to finish third in the championship just reinforces the quality and offering of my team. This year we have had the smallest of budget, virtually zero testing but as usual the N.Technology commitment and professionalism has shone through.
"You don't have a team for as long as we have had, with the major successes that we have had, without being good. I am sure that this year's result will ensure any automotive manufacturer considering a motorsport programme will think of us.
"Like any successful company, we are only as good as the people that work within it. I would like to say a big thank you to all my team for an outstanding job this year."