Johannesburg teenager Kelvin van der Linde flew the South African flag high at the opening round of the international Volkswagen Scirocco-R Cup at Hockenheim in Germany on Saturday with an impressive fourth place on his first visit to the historic German circuit and his first outing in the international one-make series contested by 19 young drivers from 10 countries.
The race was won by former German Touring Masters (DTM) champion and ex-Formula 1 driver Nicola Larini (49) of Italy who was competing in the Legends Cup for former winners of the DTM and guest drivers from other racing disciplines. Second, and the first of the regular Scirocco R-Cup contenders, who are aged between 16 and 22, was Kasper Jensen (21) of Denmark and fellow Dane Michelle Gatting (19).
Van der Linde (16), the reigning South African VW Cup champion, had impressed with second place behind Larini in qualifying on a wet circuit on Saturday and briefly led the race on the opening lap until slowed by the loss of the gas-powered car’s power steering.
“It was a great experience,” enthused the Dainfern College grade 10 pupil. “I quickly settled into the Scirocco after Friday’s practice and qualifying. It’s a great race car and not that different to the Ferodo VW Golf I drove in the South African production car championship, although it’s a lot more sophisticated.
“I thought I had a good chance of winning the race, which was run on a dry track, but the loss of power steering made the car very difficult to drive and I had to work very hard to finish third among the regular Scirocco R-Cup drivers. I’m looking forward to the rest of the nine-race series and am confident we can pull off a win before long.”
The next round is at the Red Bull Spielberg circuit in Austria on June 1 and 2, when there will be two races.
Issued on behalf of Vanderlinde Racing by Peter Burroughes Communications, telephone 082 899 0101, e-mail email@example.com