Sheldon van der Linde was the young man grabbing the headlines after round three of the Super Series on Saturday. At 14 years of age, Van der Linde won the second race of the Engen Volkswagen Cup to become the youngest racer in South Africa to win a national saloon car race.
The Van der Linde family is well-known in South African motorsport circles with Kelvin van der Linde the current headline track star. He currently races the ADAC GT Masters series after winning the Scirocco R-Cup championship last year and the Engen Volkswagen Cup championship in 2012. Kelvin made headlines just a week before his little brother when he won a race in the GT Masters category, become the youngest driver ever to do so – at 17.
It appears he now faces competition from Sheldon when it comes to making the news.
Van der Linde’s teammate in the Engen Volkswagen Cup series, Daniel Rowe, entered the event intent on flying the flag high on his home track. Rowe qualified in second, drew pole and won the first race but shone in race two. Here Rowe was unlucky to draw a sixth place grid start and had to fight his way up the field. A single-make series where the entire championship features just Volkswagen Polo Vivo race cars means there is no advantage from power or handling – it is all about race craft.
Rowe completed that second race in third place overall (second in his championship), having done battle with some of the best driving talent in the country.
The Engen Volkswagen Cup is also home to the Masters category – a championship within the series which is for drivers older than 27. This season could see that meaning change to “Master of competition” with Mathew Hodges regularly mixing it up amongst the frontrunners as he did on Saturday, finishing in second place overall during the second race.
This was a strong recovery for Hodges who suffered an undiagnosed problem with his car during race one which saw him finish second from last.
Round four for the season is another coastal round for the series which contested Killarney in March and heads for East London on 5 July.