Heikki Kovalainen wins maiden Super GT title

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Former McLaren Formula One driver Heikki Kovalainen claimed his first Super GT championship in the 2016 season finale at Motegi on Sunday.

2008 Hungarian Grand Prix winner Kovalainen and Lexus Team SARD teammate Kohei Hirate successfully overcame a 10-point deficit to defending champions Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli in the final round of the GT500 class.

The Finn -- who also had spells in F1 at Renault and Caterham -- secured a second place finish in the opening race, before taking a first win of 2016 in the second race to seal the championship by 13 points over Kazuya Oshima and Andrea Calderelli, who ended up leapfrogging Matsuda and Quintarelli in the standings with second in the decider.

In their second season racing together in the Japan-based series, Kovalainen and Hirate recorded four podium finishes on their way to title glory. It marked the 35-year-old's first championship in GT racing, as well as his first title victory since winning the 2004 World Series by Nissan championship.

The win at Motegi was Kovalainen's first in international motorsport since his victory in Hungary eight years ago with McLaren.