South African motorsport driver Kelvin van der Linde represented the country well in Germany by claiming victory along with his German co-driver René Rast, at the international ADAC GT Masters Championship. The race was held at the famous Hockenheimring grand prix circuit.
Van der Linde (18) was driving an Audi R8 LMS ultra for the Prosperia C Abt Racing team. The rookie was 10th in the first of the weekend’s two races on Saturday and scored enough points in the one-hour race to make it impossible for his nearest rival, who finished 11th, to beat him in Sunday’s race.
Van der Linde/Rast had 206 points and Jaap van Lagen, a 38-year-old Hollander driving a Porsche 911 GT3R, was on 170. The South African/German duo finished sixth on Sunday from seventh on the grid with Van Lagen and his German co-driver Christian Engelhardt second after starting in third place. The final championship points were van der Linde/Rast 214 and Van Lagen 188. Prosperia C Abt won the team championship for the second year running.
Van der Linde and Rast scored three victories and finished in the top 10 in each of the eight rounds and 16 races, thus scoring points every time they lined up on the 26-car grid.
“I learnt so much from René, who shared all his considerable knowledge and driving skills with me. It was a privilege to have been his team-mate,” said van der Linde. “I must also thank Christian Abt, a very successful driver in his own right and our team owner, for the opportunity to join his team.”
“I was a novice and untested in the very competitive GT Masters formula and up against some of the world’s top GT sports car drivers. I have grown so much this year and gained so much valuable experience. I can’t wait for the 2015 season.”
He becomes the youngest ever winner of the prestigious GT Masters Championship. In the process he equals his fine performance in his international racing debut last year when he won the German-based Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup Championship, where he was also the youngest-ever champion in his rookie year.
In 2012, aged 16, he was the youngest winner of the South African Volkswagen Cup Championship, a success that set him on the path to international exposure and acclaim. Three successive major motor racing championships before even completing his schooling is an achievement not equalled by any South African racing driver before him.
–Ignition Live Reporter