Crash.Net WTCC News
Hernandez confirmed as Indy champion
16 November 2008
Sergio Hernandez got his hands on the 2008 World Touring Car Independents' Trophy by winning his tenth race this season in the absence of Stefano D'Aste.
With double points to be awarded in the final round, D'Aste was still in contention to beat his Proteam team-mate heading to Macau before he announced he was withdrawing in protest of a penalty sustained in Japan.
It meant Hernandez was free to claim the championship win in only his second season touring car racing following several seasons struggling in open-seaters. Although he retired from the final round of the season, the Spaniard was nonetheless delighted to be confirmed as champion.
“I think it is always special to be on the podium here in the Independents' class. I was really happy to be there. I was fighting with Franz and he has been really quick here. In the second race I had a problem with the engine and I didn't finish, but I am happy for I have won the Championship, that was my goal for the season.”
D'Aste's absence also meant that he lost the runners-up spot in the standings to Franz Engstler, who ended his first WTCC in style by avoiding the carnage and claiming his first Independents' Trophy win, as well as a sixth place finish overall.
“First of all I have to say thank you very much to my whole team, to my sponsors and to BMW. This was our first year in WTCC and it was very hard. Most of the tracks were new to us and the cars were fast so it was a very hard season. I did fight a lot with Sergio and I want to say congratulations to him.”