Fabrizio Giovanardi has taken the 2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, despite failing to score for the first time this season in the opening race at Brands Hatch.
The Italian had qualified in eleventh place but seemed happy to simply bring his car to the finish, safe in the knowledge that Jason Plato effectively had to win the race from tenth on the grid to stand any chance of keeping the title race alive.
Giovanardi did suffer a scare early on however, when contact with Adam Jones at Paddock Hill Bend on lap two while fighting for tenth place saw him take a trip across the gravel.
To his credit, Plato produced a typically fighting drive to come though the field to finish in fifth place, taking him to 223 points.
However, that leaves Giovanardi 38 points clear in the standings with just two races - and a maximum of 34 points - available.
"It was strange to win the title without scoring a point!" he told Crash.net
shortly after exiting his Vectra VXR. "The race was very close and very tough, with so many cars qualifying within a few tenths of a second. I got a bit of a bang on track and from there I was happy to get to the finish as I knew Jason wasn't high enough.
"We have seen the SEAT be strong in the last races but I just kept going and had to be clever to score the points. The experience of last year helped me and I knew all the circuits already so we could focus on just improving the car.
"It's my ninth title, but you never get bored of it and I want to win a tenth! Every year is different though. SEAT won't be here but the BMWs are strong and so is the Honda so we can't relax over the winter and need to work hard to keep improving our car."
Mat Jackson took victory in the opening race and now leads Colin Turkington in the race for third place in the championship standings.
Ironically, Jackson also took victory in the final race of the 2007 season at Thruxton when Giovanardi took his first BTCC title.