15-year-old Sheldon van der Linde dominated proceedings in the final round of the Engen Volkswagen Cup this weekend, 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.
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.
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.
In the opening ten lap race, Sheldon scorched away from the field and was never caught. Race two, over twelve laps saw Sheldon quickly up into the lead and he simply streaked away to end six seconds clear of the field, a lifetime in the ultra-close Volkswagen Cup series.
Van der Linde had this to say after clinching the title: ‘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. When I drew pole position for the first race I knew I would have a good day. 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.’