SEAT – WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPION ONCE AGAIN!
SEAT is World Touring Car Champion for the second year in succession, following the culmination of the WTCC season in Macau. And the celebrations don’t end there – just like last year one of its drivers is again World Champion though, this time, outgoing champ Yvan Muller is pipped to the post by team-mate Gabriele Tarquini.
The SEAT Sport team achieved all of its goals at the urban racetrack, not only clinching the Manufacturers’ World Championship and Drivers’ World Championship, but also the Independents’ Trophy. Dutchman Tom Coronel took the Independents’ title, meaning that SEAT has triumphed with two different cars – the diesel Leon TDI and petrol Leon WTCC – in turn beating BMW, Chevrolet and Lada in the manufacturers’ championship.
SEAT is celebrating this triumphant finish at the end of a difficult season, caused by regulatory changes made during the year which at times limited the potential for the Leon TDI. However, these challenges did not ultimately affect the Spanish manufacturer’s victorious climax to the season, thanks to the hard work and close co-operation of the entire SEAT Sport team.
This winning spirit proved essential during an extremely challenging weekend in Macau. On Friday, leading drivers Gabriele Tarquini and Yvan Muller finished the qualifying session in hospital following a serious accident which left both their cars heavily battered. Only through the sterling efforts of SEAT Sport’s mechanics were the two cars ready in time for the race. In addition, all five SEAT Sport drivers carried out a perfect strategy to secure the double victory.
In the first race, an impeccable start by Tiago Monteiro, Jordi Gené and Gabriele Tarquini allowed the SEAT drivers to take firm control of the race from second, third and fourth positions, without taking unnecessary risks to secure the Manufacturers’ trophy. Tarquini finished the race second, ahead of Gené, with Yvan Muller fifth and Monteiro sixth. This result meant one of the two SEAT drivers was mathematically sure of the title.
The second race was even more tactical with Yvan Muller in third position, followed by Monteiro and Gené, and with Gabriele Tarquini eventually moving up to fifth. An accident at the back of the pack forced the race to be red-flagged two laps before the finish, thus confirming SEAT’s and Tarquini’s triumph.
In the Independents’ Trophy, Tom Coronel won the first race and that was enough for him to take the title, his second success in this class with SEAT.
With his victory, Gabriele Tarquini becomes the seventh Italian WTCC world champion in history 18 years after Teo Fabi. He follows in the tyre tracks, too, of Nino Farina, Alberto Ascari, Mauro Baldi, Roberto Ravaglia and Massimo Biasion. He has also set a spectacular record since, at 47 years of age, he is the most senior champion in motorsport history, passing even Juan Manuel Fangio.
For the Spanish make, this is the fifth manufacturer world title following those achieved in rallying in 1996, 1997 and 1998 with the Ibiza Kit Car and the four manufacturer and driver World Touring Car Championship titles clinched in 2008 and 2009 with the Leon TDI WTCC.
World Champion Gabriele Tarquini was ecstatic about the weekend’s results: ‘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, added: ‘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.’
Manufacturer standings: 1. SEAT, 314 points; 2. BMW, 311 points; 3. Chevrolet, 215 points; 4. Lada, 83 points
Driver standings: 1. G.Tarquini (SEAT) 127 points; 2. Y.Muller (SEAT) 123 points; 3. A.Farfus (BMW) 113 points; 4. A.Priaulx (BMW) 84 points; 5. R.Huff (Chevrolet) 80 points; 6. Y.Muller (BMW) 76 points; 7. R.Rydell (SEAT), 64 points; 8. J.Gené (SEAT) 48 points; 9. T.Monteiro (SEAT) 44 points; 10. A.Menu (Chevrolet) 39 points