Evergreen Hyundai WTCR driver Gabriele Tarquini has won the 2018 FIA WTCR championship in Macau today, becoming the oldest World Champion in FIA history.
Beating his own record from nine years ago, Tarquini did just enough in Macau earlier today to secure the World Championship by three points from long-time rival and fellow Hyundai driver Yvan Muller, the Hyundai BRC Racing driver becoming a double World Touring Car Champion and with it taking the record of the oldest World Champion in the history of FIA sanctioned motorsport events.
Still young at 56 years of age, Tarquini has produced a measured and competitive performance throughout the season, taking five wins and two pole positions on his way to title success - some 26 years after retiring from Formula One competition at the end of the 1992 Grand Prix season!
Taking the ninth place in Macau the Italian legend needed to beat his old nemesis Muller to the championship, Tarquini has hailed the 2018 WTCR campaign as his greatest season - Spiderman again proving he has plenty left to give in modern touring car competition:
“I have the memory of nine years ago, walking to this press conference with a world title,” said Tarquini. “Then I was thinking of stopping racing because I thought what do I want to achieve more than a world title? It’s probably the best time to stop, but I was then thinking ‘why should I stop, I want to race. I have the adrenaline, I am not very slow, I can compete again.’ And I decided, because SEAT stopped, to start again with a private team in 2010, 2011, 2012 and then I was back in a Honda team.
“So, I didn’t stop and this has been the greatest season. I must also thank Hyundai for choosing me in the beginning, all the team, the mechanics and my team-mate. And I also want to congratulate Yvan, who made a great job through the season. He was my toughest opponent. It was already nine and ten years ago we fought in 2008 and 2009, and I’m really pleased he came back to race because he wanted to stop, and I remember what I suggested to him: ‘I said why do you want to stop so young?’ And now I am very happy he is back and is fighting again.”Tarquini adds the 2018 success to his 2009 WTCC, British and European touring car championship trophy collection.