15-year-old Sheldon van der Linde dominated proceedings in the final round of the Engen Volkswagen Cup, claiming the championship in style by dominating both races, setting the fastest lap in both heats and setting the fastest qualifying lap for both heats – a full house and a perfect weekend.
The 2014 champion set another new benchmark for the series, beating his brother Kelvin’s achievement by a full year to become the youngest ever champion, all this in his first season of national motor racing and before he is legally allowed to drive on the road!
The expanded four-car Ferodo Junior Racing Team also had all four cars inside the top ten in the first race and in the overall classification.
In the week prior to the Zwartkops finale, several outstanding protests from rivals were heard, resulting in Sheldon and title rival Dewald Brummer starting the weekend on equal points. Qualifying saw Sheldon set a time almost half a second faster than his rival. Lady luck shone on the Dainfern youngster when he drew 1st and 3rd in the grid draw.
Daniel Rowe, the season long championship leader qualified 4th and drew 6th and 2nd on the grid. Shayur Harpal had a good session and booked 9th on the grid while Ignition TV presenter and guest driver Marius Roberts was a commendable 14th.
In the opening ten lapper, Sheldon scorched away from the field and was never headed, while Daniel slotted into 5th, Shayur ended 8th and Marius did a sterling job to end 10th.
Race two, over 12 laps saw Sheldon quickly up into the lead and simply streaked away to end some 6 seconds clear of the field, a lifetime in the ultra-close Volkswagen Cup series.
Daniel, Shayur and Marius were all involved in scuffles around the track but emerged bruised and slightly bent with all their mirrors intact to claim 5th, 11th and 13th respectively.
Quotes from the star:
#16 Sheldon van der Linde: “After the stewards took away my Cape Town win I was equal on points with Dewald so I knew I had to beat him in qualifying and both races.
My season gained momentum from midyear when we started to hit the circuits for a second time and I could put my experience from my first visit to good use and get some good results.
When I drew pole position for the first race I knew I would have a good day. The races were relatively straightforward. I just had to maintain my concentration and keep it smooth and quick. It’s been a fantastic year racing with Daniel and the Ferodo team. I’m over the moon although it hasn’t sunk in yet”.