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2013-10-03 08:51

MAKING SA PROUD: South African VW Cup champion Kelvin van der Linde has earned a slot in the FIA 2013/14 Young Driver's Excellence Academy. Image: VW

After an intensive series of evaluations at the Gerotek Vehicle Testing Facility, near Pretoria, Kelvin Van der Linde has earned selection to the FIA Institute's 2013/14 Young Driver Excellence Academy.

Linde (17) won his place on the fully-funded Academy programme after demonstrating his ability not just on the track but also in terms of fitness and understanding of safety and vehicle dynamics.


There were three judges on the selection panel – Kate Robson (the FIA Institute) Norbert Filippits (academy training partner TTI) and Richard Leeke (Motorsport South Africa). As soon as it was known that Linde was in consideration for the win, the South African judge removed himself from the final selection procedure. Linde was the unanimous choice of the other two judges.

Linde has the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of previous participants in the academy who have gone on to drive in Formula 1 and the World Rally Championship.


Linde said: "It's a big honour for myself, my country and my continent to be able to go out and compete against the elite of the world. It's a major step and I realise I've got a lot of work ahead of me."

On the final day of the selection event the 12 drivers were whittled down to five, who competed in a shoot-out on track. They included Cole Bond (Zimbabwe), Cristian Bouche (Mozambique), Tejas Hirani (Kenya) and Mark Sternagel (Namibia).

Ultimately, the choice of Linde as the regional winner was based not only on the shoot-out result but on all-round skills displayed over the three days.

Linde is currently leading the championship standings in the international VW Scirocco R-Cup in Europe.

He now joins Lithuania's Ignas Gelzinis, the winner of the European regional event and Saudi Arabia's Abdullah Bamogaddam, winner of the Middle East and Mediterranean event, on the academy programme. They in turn will join the winners of the Americas and Asia Pacific selection events taking place at the end of the month and three additional wild card entries to form the eight of the Academy.

Starting in December 2013, the next academy provides a fully-funded training programme which aims to help drivers develop their motor sport careers, whilst increasing safety skills and actively promoting the principles of safety, fairness and responsibility on and off the track.

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