SA teens thrill in Scirocco Cup
TOP FORM: South African Kelvin van der Linde (centre) and Jordan Pepper (right) made the podium after the weekend's VW Scirocco Cup in Austria, along with Denmark's Michelle Gatting. Linde won Sunday's race. Image: Quickpic
Author: PETER BURROUGHES
SA’s 16-year-old Kelvin van der Linde dominated the second and third rounds of the international Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup one-make series in Austria on Saturday and Sunday with back-to-back wins around the 4.3km Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
The 2012 SA VW Cup champion was well supported by 16-year-old compatriot Jordan Pepper from Johannesburg who finished third in race one on Saturday and fifth in Sunday’s round in front of a large crowd gathered to watch the main attraction, the German Touring Car championship.
Pepper scored the most significant win of his young motorsport career when he won the Junior Cup in round two of the VW Scirocco R-Cup on Saturday, June 1. He was third overall but first of the Junior Cup contenders.
Pepper said after his race on Saturday: “ I did not get off to an ideal start, but then fought my way forward one position at a time. With all the crashes, I am happy to have made it safely to the finish. The crash between Ross Wylie and Marcel Müller looked like a bad one but nobody was seriously hurt – that is still the most important thing on a weekend like this.”
Van der Linde won Saturday’s race over 10 laps from pole after it was shortened by two laps as a result of an accident. Fellow SA-racer Pepper was third. It was a proud moment for the two Johannesburg teenagers as they stood on the podium together with 19-year-old Michelle Gatting of Denmark, who finished second.
On May 6 they made their debut in the series at the Hockenheimring GP circuit in Germany where Linde qualified second and finished fourth despite losing the car’s power steering on the opening lap.
Linde now leads the championship with 80 points after three rounds with six remaining. Gatting is second with 72 points.
Gatting and Linde were involved in a thrilling duel for the lead in Saturday’s race before the young South African got the upper hand and crossed the line with a 5.6sec advantage.
EIGHTH TO FIRST
The top eight finishers started Sunday’s race in reverse order and Linde took full advantage of a great start from eighth to move into the lead by the second lap. He steadily pulled away from the rest of the field to take the chequered flag by a comfortable 10.2sec from Gatting and 10.5sec ahead of Jensen.
Linde said: “My start in race one was not good and Michelle put me under pressure right from the start. We were involved in a tough, but fair, duel. I had a great start in Race 2 and made up a lot of places on the opening lap. Once I got to the front it was just a case of maintaining the pace and making no mistakes.
"I’m very happy with my first VW Scirocco R-Cup victories at the Red Bull Ring, a new circuit for me.”
The next round will be at the Norisring circuit in Germany on July 13.