Kelvin van der Linde (Ferodo VW Polo Vivo) extended his Engen Volkswagen Cup championship lead in a day of mixed fortunes for Ferodo Racing’s team of young drivers at Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria on Saturday. On a sunny winter’s day at the popular Gauteng circuit, the fourth round of the WesBank Super Series once again delivered a full programme of racing. Van der Linde, 15, continued on his winning way in the tightly contested VW Cup, mixing caution in the opening back-to-back six-lap sprint races before stamping his authority on the 12-lap feature race to score maximum points with his fifth win of the season. He now leads the championship by a healthy 65 points from defending champion Devin Robertson and is 73 ahead of Kosie Weyers. The Johannesburg grade 10 student started fifth and finished sixth in race one after declining to get mixed up in a particularly frenetic opening lap. He led the second partially inverted grid sprint race from pole position and finished second after race winner Kosie Weyers grabbed the hole shot. Van der Linde elected to play it safe and conserve his tyres, settling for the 21 points that come with second place.
Team-mate Gennaro Bonafede, 21, started his weekend off in promising fashion, qualifying his Ferodo VW Golf GTi second fastest in class T of the Bridgestone Production Car Championship and finishing second in the first of the opening back-to-back eight-lap sprint races after pressuring race winner Graeme Nathan (VW Golf GTi) throughout. He started fourth in the partial reverse grid second sprint and finished fifth. A broken clamp caused his turbo boost pipe to burst in the 14-lap feature race and ruined his chances of making up places in the championship. It was a disappointing end to what had promised to be a good day for the Pretoria University student, who has had more than his fair share of bad luck to date.
Ernie van der Walt, 18, was also a frustrated young man at the end of the day after experiencing gearbox problems on his Ferodo Formula Volkswagen. The grade 10 student from Hoopstad in the Free State qualified eighth for the opening 10-lap race and his team discovered a problem with third gear when he returned to the pits. Despite their best efforts, and with no spare gearbox available, they were unable to fix the problem and he struggled to eighth place in the race. Adjustments were made to the single seater between races and the youngster reported a slightly improved car after taking the chequered flag in sixth place.