Spielberg, Austria - Teenage South African motor racing prodigy Kelvin van der Linde and German team-mate René Rast finished 10th and second respectively in their Audi R8 in the two one-hour races that made up the fourth round of the ADAC GT Masters series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria at the weekend.
They have now finished on the podium six times in eight races and lead the eight-round championship at the halfway stage by 10 points - and they won the second race in Round 1 in Oschersleben, Germany, in April, making Van der Linde the youngest race winner in GT Masters history.
The Austrian result was a milestone for Audi, which had not previously achieved a podium finish at the Red Bull Ring - a high-speed circuit that favours the big-bore Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette. Both races were in fact won by Oliver Gavin and Daniel Keilwitz in a 5.2-litre V8 Callaway Chevrolet Corvette.
"To finish on the podium from sixth on the grid was like a win for the team.”
Van der Linde, the reigning European Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup champion and South African Motor Sportsman of the Year, said afterwards: "It was a tough weekend and we had a difficult job to do today at a track that didn't suit our car - but René is a great team-mate and drove magnificently and, thanks to a team that had a good strategy and did everything right, we wound up on the podium.”
The GT Masters series is open to sports cars that comply with the International Automobile Federation's technical regulations and is contested by the Audi R8 LMS Ultra, BMW Z4 GT3, Chevrolet Camaro GT, Chevrolet Corvette Z06.R, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG gullwing, Porsche 911 GT3 R, Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 and McLaren MP4-12C GT3.
With four rounds and eight races remaining, Rast and Van der Linde are leading the championship with 120 points. Second is Holland's Jaap van Lagen in a Porsche 911 GT3 R (he's had three different partners so far) with 110 points and third are BMW Z4 crew Claudia Hurtgen and Dominik Baumann with 94 points.
The next round of the series will be run at the Slovakia Ring, 40km east of Bratislava, on 9 and 10 August.