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SA racer stuns in Germany test

2013-04-22 21:22

PUTTING SA ON THE MAP: South African VW Cup champion Kelvin van der Linde has emerged as the fastest driver after a two-day test at the Oschersleben circuit in Germany ahead of the 2013 VW Scirocco World Cup championship.

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Author: PETER BURROUGHES

 
OSCHERSLEBEN, Germany - South African VW Cup champion Kelvin van der Linde has made an impressive international racing debut as the fastest driver at the Oschersleben circuit in Germany. The two-day test was in preparation for the 2013 Scirocco R Cup championship.

The 16-year-old Johannesburgerr who made SA motor racing history in 2012 by becoming the youngest winner of a senior circuit racing National championship impressed the series organisers and other competitors with his pace and maturity.

NAME TO WATCH

The rising SA star - the second-youngest among the 18 drivers from around the world who will be contesting the six-round nine-race series in Europe - was immediately on the pace despite it being his first visit to the 3.6km circuit and his first experience of the left-hand drive 192kW sports coupe.

He said: "I was quite surprised by how quickly I got to grips with the Scirocco R. After the first few laps I felt completely at home. It’s similar in performance to the Class T VW Golf GTi I drove for Ferodo in the opening round of the 2013 SA Production Car championship. That experience has proved very useful."

Van der Linde earned his place in the series by winning the SA VW Cup championship and will drive a black Scirocco carrying the South African flag and the number 20.

The R-Cup is in its third year as a curtain-raiser to the German Touring Car championship as successor to the original 1976 VW Cup with the first VW Scirocco.

STAR-STUDDED LINE-UP

The one-make series has as many as 24 identical cars with four or five guest drivers in each round. These include former motorsport drivers such as ex-F1 champion Damon Hill, ex-World Rally champion Carlos Sainz and even the father of reigning F1 World champion Sebastian Vettel.

The R’s two-litre TSI engine is turbocharged and has paddle-shift gearchanging, a direct shift gearbox and a boost that adds 37kW to the engine’s basic 175kW. There are limited set-up options - changes to tyre pressures, anti-roll bars and seat and steering-wheel position.

"I’m very excited by the season ahead. Our first race will be at Hockenheim on May 4 and I can’t wait to get started," the South African said. "Among the celebrity guest drivers will be former DTM champions and F1 drivers Nicola Larini and Eric van de Poele.

"This is a great opportunity for me and could be the launch-pad for an international racing career. We are a support race to DTM, the most successful and respected of all the international Touring Car championships. DTM teams keep a close eye on the VW Scirocco R-Cup drivers."

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