Ultimate Signature's Esteban Guerrieri brought the curtain down on the 2008 World Series by Renault by converting pole into victory at the final round at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

It was a first win at World Series level for the Argentine, who had to come from behind to pass Fortec's James Walker in the closing stages, but it was not enough to elevate his team to top spot in the final standings, as Tech 1 became the first outfit to win the title twice by repeating its 2007 debut success.

With newly-crowned champion Giedo van der Garde starting from pit-lane, having made it back from his GP2 Asia commitments in China in an effort to give P1 Motorsport a shot at the teams' crown, Salvador Duran stalling on the warm-up lap and Marco Bonanomi sitting out after rolling his Red Devil Team Comtec Dallara into a box of spare parts on Saturday, the grid took on an unusual appearance, but Guerrieri, alone on the front row, showed no sign of nerves and took an early lead ahead of Bertrand Baguette.

Saturday podium visitor Mikhail Aleshin and Miguel Molina gave chase to the leading pair while, at the back of the field, Baguette's Draco team-mate Marco Barba ended his season prematurely. The Spaniard was not alone in erring, however, as his trip into the gravel was mirrored by none other than van der Garde, the effects of global air travel no doubt having an effect on the Dutchman.

Out front, Guerrieri and Baguette ran nose-to-tail for three laps before the Belgian grew impatient and began to look for a way around the vivid orange car. His initial attempts to pass, however, were thwarted by the leader, leaving the mandatory pit-stops as Baguette's most likely overtaking opportunity.

Molina was the first to head pitwards, stopping on the fifth lap, but the other frontrunners all opted for a different strategy, with Aleshin and Alvaro Barba waiting until the twelfth lap to make their stops. The pair rejoined behind Walker, Robert Wickens and Saturday race winner Julien Jousse, and the differing strategies would have an effect on the overall order after Guerrieri and Baguette stopped on laps 13 and 14 respectively.

When the pair returned to the track, it was Walker, one of the few who decided to stop early on, who led the way, the Briton enjoying a lead of more than two seconds over Guerrieri, with Wickens having moved between the Argentine and Baguette, who had Jousse, Aleshin and Fairuz Fauzy giving chase.

Guerrieri, however, was determined not to be denied his maiden win, believing that fate was on his side after being gifted pole by the cancellation of SuperPole. Putting in a final push to close the gap on Walker, he was able to heap pressure on the Fortec driver, harrying him for four laps before making his move on the final tour and becoming the ninth different winner of 2008.

"I got off to a good start, but I was soon suffering from oversteer," Guerrieri explained later, "Exiting the pit-lane, I was fighting it out with Wickens, Aleshin and Jousse, but I managed to move to the top of this group, and initially thought that I was in the lead. Then they told me Walker's position.... I just gave it everything and managed to overtake him on the last lap."

Walker held on for second, with Wickens having been unable to bridge his own five-second gap to the Briton, while Baguette and Jousse completed the leading quintet. The Briton, despite having been denied a potential victory for the second time this season, admitted that he was satisfied with second.

"I'm happy to be on the podium for the last race of the season - the one that everyone remembers!," he smiled, "We adopted a good strategy and the car performed perfectly."

Like both Guerrieri and Walker, Wickens hinted at a possible return to the series in 2009.

"After the run of bad luck at the start of the season, the end of the year had been much better!" the Canadian commented, "I don't know what the future holds for me, but fighting it out for the title sounds like an interesting option...."

Despite Guerrieri's victory, however, the team spoils went to Tech 1 for the second year running as Jousse, in fifth, and Charles Pic, in eighth, did enough for Simon Abadie's outfit to maintain its 100 per cent success rate in the competition.

Jousse's result was also enough to confirm him as second in the overall driver standings, a position he was expected to challenge for pre-season, but which had come under threat from Ultimate Signature's Fabio Carbone as the Brazilian won races and Jousse didn't. Carbone finished tenth in the final race of the year, and took third overall in points.



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