Alan Gow has paid tribute to SEAT, despite admitting his disappointment as the news that the Spanish manufacturer is to cease its involvement in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship at the end of the year.

Having joined the BTCC grid back in 2004, SEAT will bring the curtain down on its BTCC programme following Finals Day at Brands Hatch while the BTCC-supporting SEAT Cupra Championship will also come to an end after six years.

It leaves leading drivers Jason Plato and Darren Turner both seeking drives elsewhere for the 2009 campaign and also leaves the BTCC with just one manufacturer - although paddock rumours suggest that Vauxhall could be joined by a new rival for the new season.

Although he admitted that it was disappointing to lose one of the leading teams from the series, Gow was quick to point out that he respected the decision taken by SEAT UK and said they had played a valuable part in the success of the BTCC in recent years.

"Obviously it's disappointing, but I fully respect SEAT's decision - times change and every company's programmes and/or priorities change with them," Gow reflected. "SEAT's decision to withdraw from not only the BTCC but also the Cupra Championship underlines the fact that it has decided that motor sport (in general) does not form part of its future plans, for now.

"Any motor manufacturer that chooses to go motor racing does so as part of a major focused marketing strategy. SEAT has clearly fulfilled its aims by participating in the BTCC and I'm very proud to note that, in its own words, SEAT's brand image has been 'massively enhanced' by doing so - thus firmly endorsing the great benefit that participating in the BTCC has been to it.

"SEAT has been a fabulous competitor in the BTCC during these past five years and our many millions of fans, whether trackside or watching live on TV, will miss its team, drivers and cars. We sincerely wish it well for the future."