The penultimate round of the WesBank Super Series at Killarney in Cape Town on Saturday did not exactly produce the results Ferodo Racing was looking for. The good news was that 16-year-old Kelvin van der Linde (Ferodo VW Polo) retained his lead over defending champion Devin Robertson in the Engen Volkswagen Cup Championship and remained on track to become the youngest ever winner in only his second year in the competition. Also, 18-year-old Ernie van der Walt equalled his best performance in the Formula Volkswagen Championship by finishing third in both races.
For the rest it was what Ferodo Racing’s 22-year-old production car driver Gennaro Bonafede described as “a horrible weekend” Van der Linde’s lead in the VW Cup was reduced from 35 points at the start of the day to seven thanks to his not scoring any points in either of the day’s two races. A broken CV joint stranded him on the starting grid in the opening race and an incident involving another competitor in race two saw him finish 25th and well out of the points. Robertson finished fifth behind race winner Jordan Pepper. After his race one disappointment, he was lying third in race two behind eventual winner Kosie Weyers and Jordan Pepper when he was hit from behind by Kyle Barnes. He spun off the circuit and was not able to restart the car for several minutes, rejoining the race at the back of the 28-car field. Robertson finished third.
“It’s very frustrating losing out because of someone else’s mistake,” said Van der Linde. “This is not the first time it’s happened this year and it’s cost me a lot of championship points. Now the challenge in the last round at Kyalami is even bigger, but at least we are still leading.” Van der Walt, on the other hand, enjoyed a good weekend. He qualified second for both races – his best performance this year – behind eventual double race winner and new champion Jayde Kruger and finished on the podium twice, behind Kruger and Simon Moss on both occasions. “We’ve made a lot of progress with the car in the last few rounds. I’m happy with today’s results,” said Van der Walt.
Bonafede was making his first appearance in Cape Town in the ex-Johan Fourie Audi S4 after graduating from his class T VW Golf GTi at the previous round at Zwartkops Raceway in Gauteng. Problems in practice on Friday reduced his participation to just five laps and he qualified ninth. He was very happy to finish fourth in the first of the two back-to-back sprint races and found himself in pole position for the next race. He was lying third when he hit the brake and throttle pedals at the same time in turn one and crashed into a tyre wall. He managed to get going again to finish a disappointed eighth with the Audi’s bodywork unintentionally rearranged. His pit crew straightened things out before the feature race, but this lasted less than a lap before he was innocently involved in a four-car incident on the opening lap which saw him forced out with a damaged radiator. “It was a horrible weekend from a results point of view,” admitted Bonafede. “But the main purpose of our entering the last three rounds of the championship in the Audi was to learn the car and prepare ourselves for the 2013 season.
We’ve learnt a lot already and I’m looking forward to the final round at Kyalami, which is one of my favourite circuits.”
The final round of the WesBank Super Series is at Kyalami on October 27.