Gabriele Tarquini: “This has been the greatest season”

Gabriele Tarquini has hailed the 2018 WTCR season as one of the greatest, as the Italian won his second world title at the age of 56 years of age, defeating the second-oldest driver on the grid, Yvan Muller, by just three points in a season where 870 were available.

The Italian did all he needed to do in Race 3 at the Guia Race of Macau, scoring a single point in tenth, while title rival Yvan Muller needed to get to second place, but the YMR Hyundai driver was unable to as he was trapped behind Tarquini’s BRC Racing Team team-mate Norbert Michelisz in fourth.

The Italian thanked his team, his team-mate Michelisz and also his rival Yvan Muller, thanking his former SEAT team-mate for coming back to racing this year.

“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.”