Adam confirmed as 2008 SEAT Cupra Champion
Jonathan Adam has been confirmed as the 2008 SEAT Cupra champion, and in doing so the 23-year driver from Kirkcaldy in Scotland becomes the only back-to-back champion in the six year history of the series.
Adam is the most successful SEAT Cupra Championship drivers of all time, and along with two titles can boast an unequalled 20 race wins and 39 podium finishes from 58 starts. Having finished third on his first appearance in the series in 2006, Adam won the SEAT Cupra title in 2007 and this year recovered from a relatively slow start to win nine races, score 14 podium results and set seven fastest lap times (for which an extra bonus point was awarded each time) in his Total Control Racing Leon Cupra.
As champion, Adam wins a fully-funded one-off race weekend drive in a SEAT Leon (the exact race meeting is yet to be confirmed), plus a new SEAT Leon FR road car.
Robert Lawson led the series for most of the season. In only his third season of motor racing, the 31-year old from Barton, near Richmond, in North Yorkshire won the opening round in his Bardon/JHR Leon Cupra and went on to build a solid lead by the half way point. He won a total of six races, finished on the podium 15 times and set three fastest lap times, but a technical infringement at the penultimate race meeting at Silverstone in August saw 25 points deducted from his tally.
Lawson initially appealed the decision, but following SEAT UK’s announcement to withdraw from British motorsport, ending its participation in the BTCC and closing the chapter on the SEAT Cupra Championship, the appeal was withdrawn. Despite feeling confident that the appeal would have been successful, the decision to withdraw it was based on the commercial benefits of finishing runner-up in the series and the prize – a new Leon Cupra race car and £7,500 – which can be put towards a new racing programme in 2009.
All the positions outside first and second had been decided immediately after the final round of the series at Brands Hatch on 21 September. Martin Byford (AB Glass/ Z Speed Racing) finished third and wins £25,000 and Carl Breeze (Blue Chip/ Welch Motorsport) was fourth and wins £6,000.
The top four finishers have already tested SEAT Sport UK’s Leon TDI, which was part of the extensive SEAT Cupra Championship prize fund, and all other awards will be honoured by SEAT UK.
Jonathan Adam said: “It’s a good feeling to be confirmed as the 2008 SEAT Cupra champion and to end it as the driver with the most wins in the history of the series. It’s my fourth title in five years with TCR, having won the Clio Winter Series in 2004, the Clio Cup in 2005 and now back-to-back SEAT Cupra titles. The first year in the Cupras was very tough, racing against the likes of Mat Jackson and Alan Blencowe who were in their second year, but I was pleased to finish third in the series.
“2007 was more of a level playing field as the top drivers were in the new Leon Cupra and I managed to win the title by 98 points. This year was much more difficult. There was added pressure coming back as defending champion and we didn’t start the season well. After the first six races I was 55 points behind Robert Lawson in the Championship, but working with TCR we got the car sorted and once we started winning we knew we had a good chance of closing the gap and winning the title.
“In the end we managed to win nine races, the same as in 2007, and the win in the wet at Silverstone was the most important, because it took the title fight down to the wire and, by then, we felt we had the upper hand.
“I’ve raced against a lot of very good drivers over the last three years and the SEAT Cupra Championship has been a fantastic manufacturer-backed one-make series. The cars, both the old and new Leon Cupras, were great to drive and the competition was so good that you really had to be on the limit in every race. I’m looking forward to racing the Leon in a touring car race, as touring cars is where I want to be next year.”
Robert Lawson commented: “A decision has been made, following discussions with my sponsors and the JHR team, to withdraw our appeal, despite being confident of our success in regaining the twenty-five points that were deduced and the Championship title.
“The decision is based purely on the commercial outcome, which will help to ensure my financial security as I prepare for the 2009 season. It has been a fantastic year in which I have scored more race points and podium finishes than any other driver in the SEAT Cupra Championship and I would like to thank SEAT UK for its support and commitment.”
Scott Dennis, SEAT UK Motorsport Manager added: “When you consider that Robert Lawson has only been racing for three years, it’s a fantastic result for him to finish second to Jonathan and he should be very proud of his achievement this year.
“Jonathan came back to the SEAT Cupra Championship with the added pressure of being the defending champion but soon started winning races and appearing on the podium regularly. The fact that this championship is the fourth title Jonathan has won in five years is proof of his ability and determination; I look forward to working with him next year when he races a SEAT Leon.
“During the six years that the SEAT Cupra Championship has run in the UK there is a long list of drivers that have gone on to start a racing career in either the BTCC or the WTCC and I’m sure it won’t be long before Jonathan joins that list.
“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the SEAT Cupra Championship over the last six years – the drivers, teams, sponsors, SEAT UK staff and suppliers – who have acted with such professionalism and dedication to make the series such a huge success.”
2008 SEAT Cupra Championship standings (top 6)1. Jonathan Adam (Total Control Racing)…301pts2. Robert Lawson (Bardon/JHR)…282pts3. Martin Byford (AB Glass/ Z Speed Racing)…280pts4. Carl Breeze (Blue Chip/ Welch Motorsport)…250pts5. Andrew Herron (Brian Herron Plant/JHR)…202pts6. Daniel Rowbottom (DRM M-sport)…136pts