While two eighth place finishes may not have been the ideal way to wrap up a title, Giedo van der Garde was nonetheless relieved to be crowned World Series by Renault Champion 2008 one round in advance.
The Dutchman completed the inevitable at Estoril after a season in which he and the P1 Motorsport team have dominated from the very first round back in April.
Before this weekend, van der Garde had already amassed eight top two finishes in the 14 races, but while his weekend in Portugal didn't go entirely to plan, six points was all he needed to ensure the title went his way.
Remarkably his first title win since karting, van der Garde will now receive the prize of a Renault F1 test drive, while he will also look to follow in the footsteps of reigning champion Alvaro Parente in moving up to GP2 next year.
“The race wasn't easy and we were struggling for pace, but I knew I had the title and so just wanted to bring the car home,” he said after Fabio Carbone crashed out on the first lap. “It feels great to finally be here and I'm delighted to have won the championship.”
“The team worked really hard in preparation for the start of the season, and it really showed when we arrived in Monza. We had the perfect start, but gradually the other teams began to catch us around Silverstone and Hungary.
“However the team worked super hard over the summer break and we came back strong at Nürburgring. We deserve to be in this position – we led from the start and I'm thankful to everyone who has been involved this season.”
The downside to van der Garde's lacklustre weekend, however, was P1 Motorsport losing the lead of the team championship for the first time to Tech 1 Racing, while Ultimate Signature and Prema Powerteam are also now in contention with one round remaining in Spain.