• 18-year-old Kelvin van der Linde and René Rast top the table
• Youngest race winner in the history of the ADAC GT Masters
When he claimed his first pole position and his first victory in the ADAC GT Masters, Kelvin van der Linde did not even hold a driving licence. Together with Audi R8 co-driver René Rast (27), he has fought his way back to the top of the ADAC GT Masters standings for the third time this season.
The 18-year-old from South Africa could hardly have hoped for such a fairytale debut season in the Super Sports Car League. In the two races at the Sachsenring this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, both shown live on kabel eins from 11.45am) and in the grand finale at Hockenheim (3rd – 5th October), the motor racing sensation will continue his pursuit of the title in his first ADAC GT Masters season.
Van der Linde already has one major trophy in his cabinet – the 2013 Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup. This brought him to the attention of Prosperia C Abt. “We had a test drive together in the winter, and I immediately felt at home there,” said van der Linde.
“The team atmosphere was great, and it was clear to me that I wanted to be part of it.” The combination of team (led by former ADAC GT Masters champion Christian Abt) and drivers – van der Linde and Rast – proved to be a winner right from the start of the season.
On the opening weekend of the Super Sports Car League at Oschersleben, the young Audi driver wrote his name in the history books, becoming the youngest pole-sitter and race winner in the ADAC GT Masters at the tender age of 17.
A major success for van der Linde: “The season in the ADAC GT Masters is vital for my future in motor racing. If I’m unable to prove myself this year, my career is in question. Motorsport is expensive, and an opportunity like this only comes round once. So the race win on the very first weekend came as an incredible relief.”
The assured way in which van der Linde has driven since is impressive: “I measure myself against my team-mate René Rast, who is one of the best drivers in an Audi. I can learn a lot from him. The closer I get to his times, the more satisfied I am with my performance. I didn’t find it particularly difficult to adjust to the car and found myself matching René’s times relatively quickly. The hardest thing, though, is to find those final few missing tenths of a second.”
Van der Linde is excited about the prospect of the two races on the penultimate weekend at the Sachsenring: “With the ADAC GT Masters being such a competitive series, it’s difficult to predict a winner. But I think that, of the last two events, the Sachsenring represents our best chance of a podium, so we really need to pull out a good result there. I don’t know the track yet but I’ve been practising for it in the simulator.”
Regardless of the outcome of his debut season in the ADAC GT Masters, van der Linde aims to continue his career next year in GT racing. “I want to take one step at a time; my objective for next year is to spend more time in the car and to accumulate further experience in the GT world.”