Yvan Muller and SEAT have been officially crowned the FIA World Touring Car Champions during an awards event held at Monaco.
A first WTCC title for both Muller and the Spanish manufacturer, the Frenchman took the title after three race wins and nine podiums. SEAT's five-strong driver line-up, meanwhile, scored 11 wins and 28 podiums to aid them towards the manufacturers' crown.
Coming a year after Muller was denied the 2007 title when he broke down shortly before the end of the final race, he was delighted to have responded in the most comprehensive way possible.
“One year ago in Macau I was very sad but now I am on top of the world. When you lose a world championship on the last lap because of a technical failure you remember it for weeks and months. When you win, you forget quickly, but I shall remember this for a long time.
“You have to do your best to win a world championship, but at the same time you have to have a great team to give you that opportunity. SEAT Sport gave me that opportunity. I also have to say thank you to my mechanics and to all my team mates, because we all progressed together and worked together during the season.”
Although SEAT courted considerable controversy in 2008 when they were accused of having an unfair advantage with the diesel-powered Leon hatchback, sport director Jaime Puig insists their decision to invest in the TDI was necessary to take them forward.
“It has been a fantastic season. We have a great team. I think sometimes when you do something different to the others you may win. And this was the case with SEAT when we decided to switch to the turbo diesel engine during the 2008 season. And we are proud to be the first car manufacturer to become world champion with a diesel car.”