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SA's Linde triumphs in GT Masters

2014-04-29 08:53

PROUDLY SA RACER: Kelvin van der Linde is the youngest ADAC GT Masters pole-starter and race winner yet following a fantastic race in Germany. Image: ADAC Motorsport

PETER BURROUGHES

JOHANNESBURG - Kelvin van der Linde, a 17-year-old motorsport phenomenon from Dainfern, Gauteng, set yet another milestone in his career with victory in Race 2 of the opening round of the ADAC GT Masters  in Oschersleben, Germany on Sunday (April 27).

Sharing an Audi R8 with co-driver Rene Rast (27), the 2013 Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup champion  and 2013 South African Motor Sportsman of the Year became the youngest GT Masters pole-starter (in Race 1) and race winner todate.


VIDEO: GT Masters six-car crash

The two Audi drivers dominated the race finishing 2.4 seconds ahead of the Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Christian Engelhart and Jaap van Lagen.


FIRST-LAP CRASH

The race started dramatically with a pile-up ahead of the first corner, prompting red flags. The drivers involved emerged relatively unscathed.

After a 30-minute delay, the race was restarted but over a reduced distance and race time limited to 48 minutes. Rast (still in pole position) led Dominik Baumann (BMW Z4 GT3) and Van Lagen.

At the mandatory pit stop, Van der Linde took over driving duties with a two-second cushion and finished ahead of Engelhart /Van Lagen. Baumann and Claudia Hürtgen were third for BMW, 3.1 sec behind.

HUGE-PILE UP AT ADAC GT MASTERS:



Van der Linde said: “I found the first half-hour of the race quite nerve-racking and was a bit concerned when I took over as race leader. I didn’t know if I could hang on to P1 after the pit-stop but then found myself further in front and just focused on finishing the race and managing the lead.

”I’m very grateful to Christian Abt for the opportunity to drive his car in the ADAC GT Masters. This is a mega step up for me in my motor racing career and I am very happy to have helped the team get the new season off to such a good start.

"The team gave René and I a great car this weekend.”

'MANAGED TO SHAKE HIM OFF'

Rast commented: “Kelvin drove a fantastic race, didn’t make any mistakes and withstood huge pressure from the opposition. Apart from that frightening incident at the start, it was a relatively straightforward race. I opened up a gap on the Porsche but never quite managed to shake him off.”

The Prosperia team, winner of the team prize in 2013, fielded three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars in the first round of the series. Van der Linde and Rast started from pole claimed by the South African in car No.10 on Saturday’s (April 26) opening one-hour sprint race.

The Audis of  Markus Winkelhock/Stefan Wackerbauer and Nicki Thiim/Fabian Hamprecht, were forced to retire from both races.

Van der Linde/Rast lead the Championship on 43 points ahead of Engelhart and Van Lagen (33) and the Hurtgen/Baumann (25)

The next round of the championship will be at Zandvoort, Netherlands from May 10 – 11 2014.

Watch Van der Linde's (right) reaction to the crash




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