SEAT becomes World Touring Car Champion again !
Absolute success for SEAT in the 2009 World Touring Car Championship. The SEAT Sport team achieved today all of its aims at the urban racetrack of Macau, venue of the last round of the season, clinching the Manufacturers' World Championship and the Drivers' World Championship for the second year in a row, and also the Independents' Trophy. SEAT and Gabriele Tarquini are the 2009 champions, Yvan Muller finished runner-up and Tom Coronel took the Independents' Trophy, meaning that SEAT has been able to win with two different cars, the Leon TDI and the Leon WTCC, beating BMW, Chevrolet and Lada in the manufacturers' championship.
SEAT, who was defending this year the two world titles achieved last season, achieves one of the biggest successes for Spanish sports in 2009, with a triumphant finish after a very difficult season, marked by the difficulties stemming from several regulation changes during the season which limited the possibilities of the SEAT Leon TDI. However, all of these changes did not hinder a triumphant finish, thanks to the effort and team work of all SEAT Sport team members.
This spirit has been essential in a very complicated weekend. On Friday, Gabriele Tarquini and Yvan Muller, champion and runner-up, finished the qualifying session in hospital after sustaining a serious accident which left their cars quite battered. After the efforts of the mechanics to have the cars ready for the race, the five drivers of the team carried out a perfect strategy today to secure the double victory.
In the first race, an impeccable start by Tiago Monteiro, Jordi Gene and Gabriele Tarquini, allowed the SEAT drivers to control the situation from the second, third and fourth position, without taking risks for the victory and scoring the points needed to secure the first of the titles. Tarquini finished the race second, ahead of Gene, with Yvan Muller fifth and Monteiro sixth. This result awarded one of the two SEAT drivers mathematically with the title already.
The second race was even more tactical, with Yvan Muller on third position, followed by Monteiro and Gene, and with Gabriele Tarquini recovering positions and moving up to sixth. Gene was slightly touched which allowed Tarquini to pass him, leaving the SEAT in formation, keeping their positions. An accident in the back of the pack forced the race to be red-flagged two laps before the finish, thus confirming SEAT's and Gabriele Tarquini's triumph.
In the Independents' Trophy, Tom Coronel won the first race, which awarded him the title mathematically, his second title in this class with SEAT.
With his victory, Gabriele Tarquini becomes the seventh Italian world champion in history eighteen years after Teo Fabi and beforehand Nino Farina, Alberto Ascari, Mauro Baldi, Roberto Ravaglia and Massimo Biasion. He has also marked a spectacular record, since at his 47 years of age, he is the most veteran champion in motor sports history, passing even Juan Manuel Fangio.
For the Spanish make, this is the fifth world title after those achieved in rallies in 1996, 1997 and 1998 with the Ibiza Kit Car and the four titles of the World Touring Car Championship clinched in 2008 and 2009 with the Leon TDI WTCC.
Gabriele Tarquini: "It is amazing to clinch the title after such a long sports career. I started the weekend with some trouble, but I was able to recover and the extraordinary work of my mechanics made it possible for me to take part in a race that meant a unique opportunity for me which I simply could not miss. It's been a very hard championship, very intense, and in order to win over two rivals who are as strong as Yvan Muller and Augusto Farfus, it's been essential to score many points in all races.
Jaime Puig, SEAT Sport Director: "Winning two championships for the second year in a row is the reward for a fantastic year and I want to thank the whole team for their effort, their great capacity for work and their solidarity. The races in Macau have shown that we are a team in which everybody works for everybody. After the two championships achieved last year, we wanted to take at least one of the titles this year, and we took them both. It's been an extraordinary result."