SA youngsters shine at Spielberg
Kelvin van der Linde claimed a double-victory at the RedBull Ring, near Spielberg in Austria this weekend. Fellow South African, Jordan Pepper, claimed third place in race one and fifth overall (second in the Junior category) in the second race of the weekend.
Van der Linde started race one on Saturday from pole thanks to posting the fastest qualifying time of one minute and 46.686 seconds on the 4.3 km long circuit. The chequered flag here saw him claim his first of two victories on the weekend. The second victory was achieved from an eighth place start on Sunday.
“My start in race one was not good and I was put under immense pressure right from the start,” says Van der Linde. “I tried to save my push-to-pass for the second half of the race and that worked well. I’m extremely happy with my first victory.”
“Overall it was a good race weekend, we faced tough conditions but made the most of them to win both races,” says Van der Linde. “We’re off to a new track next (Norisring) and our focus shifts to secure points in an effort to win the championship. I have to thank Volkswagen and everyone in South Africa for the great support.”
These two young South Africans, both from the local single-make Engen Volkswagen Cup championship, are attracting a great deal of attention with their European motorsport efforts. At round one at Hockenheim, Van der Linde was fourth and Pepper claimed seventh.
After the first two rounds, Van der Linde leads the championship while Pepper holds fourth overall and is also leading the Junior Championship in this series. Their performance is made all the more noteworthy as they get virtually no practise time before each race – and every event takes place on a circuit they have not raced before.
“The performance of these two young South African motorsport talents shows our racers can compete successfully on an international level,” says Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport. “Both competed in the extremely challenging Engen Volkswagen Cup series last year, a series known as being one of the toughest in the country. The series builds both character and racecraft, the performance both are giving in Germany this year is definite proof of this.”
The next round of the Scirocco R-Cup takes place at the Norisring on 12 and 13 July.
Kelvin van der Linde