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Uphill battle for SA teen in Audi TT Cup finale

Motorsport

Hockenheim, Germany - The Hockenheimring will host the Audi Sport TT Cup’s final round this weekend, where South African teenager Sheldon van der Linde will look to repeat the double win he pulled off at the season opener at the same circuit in May.

The 17-year old TT Cup rookie led the championship early in the season, but going into this seventh meeting he finds himself in third place with an almost insurmountable 42 point gap to current leader Joonas Lappalainen from Finland. The title fight has been a three-way battle between the Dainfern youngster, Lappalainen and Germany’s Dennis Marschall, who between them have won all but one of the 12 races this year (four apiece for Sheldon and Dennis, and three for Joonas). 

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The South African teenager has the TT Cup rookie title in his sights at the season finale this weekend. Picture: Audi

Sheldon suffered a bad round at the Nurburgring in September, where tyre problems and a crash saw him lose ground in the points table to his main rivals, and now the double former South African Polo Cup champion has shifted his focus to winning the rookies’ classification - which he leads by one point from Denmark’s Niklas Nielsen (the only other winner in 2016) in fourth.

Star Motoring journalist Jesse Adams will also be on the TT Cup grid at Hockenheimring, as one of five guest drivers invited by Audi to race at the season finale. Guest drivers can be distinguished from the full-time field by cars painted in special black, grey and red liveries (pictured), but besides the paint job the cars are identical to all others in every way.

‘Push to pass’

All TT Cup cars are based on road-going two-litre turbo TTS models and outputs are pegged at the same 228kW - although a limited number of ‘push-to-pass[‘ activations bump this to 250 for short bursts.

Interiors are stripped of all creature comforts, suspensions fenders are widened to accommodate four fat slick tyres, and a huge wing is affixed to the stubby bootlid.

This weekend’s two TT Cup races will alternate with the German Touring Car (DTM) series, which is also contesting its final round at Hockenheim.

The historic German circuit is expecting a capacity crown of more than 135 000 people.

You can watch Sheldon and Jesse live via online streaming at www.audimedia.tv on Saturday at 4.10pm and Sunday at 9.10am.

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