Jonathan Adam has been confirmed as the final winner of the UK SEAT Cupra Championship after title rival Rob Lawson elected to withdraw his appeal against a points penalty handed out at Silverstone.
In only his third season of racing, Lawson had established himself as a title contender following a strong start to the year – including winning the opening round at Brands Hatch – but was given a 25 point penalty following a technical infringement at Silverstone in the penultimate weekend of the campaign.
Lawson had initially elected to appeal against the decision which meant the championship standings were provisional, but after SEAT UK announced it was to end its involvement in British motorsport, Lawson decided to withdraw the appeal, having decided that the commercial benefits of finishing second in the standings – which sees him pick up a new Leon Cupra race car and a cheque for £7,500 – would be better suited to finalising a racing programme for 2009.
"A decision has been made, following discussions with my sponsors and the JHR team, to withdraw our appeal, despite being confident of our success in regaining the twenty-five points that were deduced and the Championship title,” he said. "The decision is based purely on the commercial outcome, which will help to ensure my financial security as I prepare for the 2009 season. It has been a fantastic year in which I have scored more race points and podium finishes than any other driver in the SEAT Cupra Championship and I would like to thank SEAT UK for its support and commitment."
Lawson's decision means Adam becomes the only back-to-back champion in the six-year history of the series and he will also go down in history as the most successful driver in the championship having taken 39 podium finishes – including 20 wins – in 58 starts. As a result of lifting the crown, he will take a fully-funded one-off drive in a SEAT Leon touring car at an event still be confirmed and also secures a new SEAT Leon FR road car for use away from the track.
"It's a good feeling to be confirmed as the 2008 SEAT Cupra champion and to end it as the driver with the most wins in the history of the series,” he reflected. “It's my fourth title in five years with TCR, having won the Clio Winter Series in 2004, the Clio Cup in 2005 and now back-to-back SEAT Cupra titles. The first year in the Cupras was very tough, racing against the likes of Mat Jackson and Alan Blencowe who were in their second year, but I was pleased to finish third in the series.
"2007 was more of a level playing field as the top drivers were in the new Leon Cupra and I managed to win the title by 98 points. This year was much more difficult. There was added pressure coming back as defending champion and we didn't start the season well. After the first six races I was 55 points behind Robert Lawson in the Championship, but working with TCR we got the car sorted and once we started winning we knew we had a good chance of closing the gap and winning the title. In the end we managed to win nine races, the same as in 2007, and the win in the wet at Silverstone was the most important, because it took the title fight down to the wire and, by then, we felt we had the upper hand.
"I've raced against a lot of very good drivers over the last three years and the SEAT Cupra Championship has been a fantastic manufacturer-backed one-make series. The cars, both the old and new Leon Cupras, were great to drive and the competition was so good that you really had to be on the limit in every race. I'm looking forward to racing the Leon in a touring car race, as touring cars is where I want to be next year."