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VAN DER LINDE: Spa, Sushi in Japan & GT Masters Prospects

Kelvin van der Linde files his latest column for Sportscar365 after a diverse summer…

Photo: Audi

All motorsports fans know that this is a sport of highs and lows. Those that live this sport also know that unless your name is Lewis Hamilton, 10-15 percent of the time you experience wins and glory, and the rest of the time you have to go back to Parc Ferme and take the same walk to the paddock as all the other drivers.

I have experienced both ends of the scale in recent weeks, and I can confirm that the first is probably the most enjoyable!

The long journey started in the 24 Hours of Spa where we experienced some of the worst conditions I have raced in since the 24 Hours of Daytona earlier this year.

Visibility was non-existent, cars were crashing left, right and center. It was a survival game.

In the end we didn’t play the game well enough despite showing some positive pace in qualifying. We missed out on key strategy calls like boxing under Full Course Yellow for our 5-minute technical stop and also making brave tire calls which never payed off.

Photo: Audi

From there we headed to Zandvoort and Nurburgring where we were able to once again increase our lead in the ADAC GT Masters championship.

It’s been an incredible story so far and I’m really excited to find out where the story will end for us this season with only two race weekends to go.

Next up was the Suzuka 10 Hours, one of my season highlights, because the atmosphere there is just something completely different. The fans really embrace the European drivers and teams. It’s just a great place to be and not just because I am a sushi lover!

The race itself was also a fairytale. From the first moment we rolled out for practice, our car was on rails and it was a pleasure to drive.

It was one of those races where I just enjoyed driving and being in the car. We ended up leading most of the race and winning what I would call, one of my career highlights. We celebrated in perfect Japanese style by heading over to a Karaoke bar and enjoying our last few hours in Japan!

Photo: Audi

I’m enjoying my racing more than ever at the moment, I’ve really found a great balance this year, trying to separate motorsport and my life away from the track and it’s really payed off.

Twenty-five races a year really does take its toll on everyone inside the team, including us drivers, so it’s really important to try and find ways to keep the motivation up during such a long season.

With only five race weekends to go for me, I have some exciting events to look forward to.

This weekend will be my last Blancpain GT race in Budapest due to a clash with the Barcelona round and the GT Masters Finale in Sachsenring. Since I am leading the championship together with Patric Niederhauser, Audi has opted to give me the chance to finish the season on a high with HCB Rutronik Racing in GT Masters.

After GT Masters, I’m heading home for the highlight event of the season, the Kyalami 9 Hour! It’s my first home race since becoming a Professional in 2015, so it will no doubt be a special weekend for me. All the South African fans are 100 percent behind the event and I expect a great turnout on the grandstands and in the paddock!

That’s my last few weeks in a nutshell and I hope to bring you some great memories in my next column in a few weeks from now!

Photo: Audi

Kelvin van der Linde (@KelvinvdLinde) is the 2014 ADAC GT Masters champion and 2017 Nürburgring 24 winner, driving for Audi Sport customer racing in various GT3 championships worldwide.

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