Van der Linde wins at GT Master debut

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IOL mot pic apr29 VdLinde Oschersleben . Kelvin van der Linde on his way to victory in Race 2 on Sunday.

Oschersleben, Germany - South African teenager Kelvin van der Linde racked up another milestone in his motorsport career with a win in Race 2 at opening round of the ADAC GT Masters on Sunday.

Sharing an Audi R8 with Germany's René Rast, 27, the 2013 Scirocco R Cup champion and SA Motor Sportsman of the Year became the youngest pole-position qualifier in GT Masters history in Race 1 and the youngest race winner in the second outing.

RACE 1

Van der Linde qualified on pole to give Rast the best possible start in Saturday's one-hour sprint race.

The Audi pair put in impressive performances in their first appearance together (and Van der Linde's first race in the Audi!) to finish just 0.307sec behind the winning Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 of Max Buhk and Max Gotz, with Christian Engelhart and Jaap van Lagen third in a Porsche 911 GT3 R.

RACE 2

Rast and van der Linde dominated Sunday's race, which got off to a dramatic start with a seven-car pile-up going into the first corner that immediately brought out the red flags.

Fortunately, all seven drivers emerged relatively unscathed, and the race was restarted after a 30-minute delay, but over a reduced distance, with the time now limited to 48 minutes.

Rast, still in pole position, led off strongly with Dominik Baumann in a BMW Z4 GT3 and Van Lagen in the Porsche debating second. Van Lagen eventually got the best of it but was unable to pose any sort of threat to race leader Rast.

TWO-SECOND CUSHION

At the mandatory pit stop, Rast handed over to co-driver Van der Linde with a two-second cushion over the Porsche, Van Lagen handed over the Porsche to Christian Engelhart and Claudia Hurtgen took over the BMW from Bauman.

But neither was able to make an impression on the youngster, who brought the Audi home safely 2.4 seconds clear of Egelhart and 3.1 seconds ahead of Hurtgen.

NERVE-WRACKING

Van der Linde confessed afterwards: "The first half hour of the race was quite nerve-wracking and was a bit concerned when I took over as race leader - I didn't know if I could hang on to the lead after the pit stop.

"But then I found I'd stretched the lead a little, so I just focused on bringing the car home."

An admiring Rast said: "Kelvin drove a fantastic race, didn't make any mistakes and withstood huge pressure from the opposition.

"Apart from that frightening incident at the start, it was a relatively straightforward race. I opened up a gap on the Porsche but never quite managed to shake him off."



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