Van der Linde: 12 Hour win gone begging is ‘bitter’
Sunday 15th May, 2022 - 7:50pm
Audi star Kelvin van der Linde said there is no point blaming any one thing that led to a potential Bathurst 12 Hour victory slipping out of his grasp.
Having looked the class of the field and dominated every session the entire 12 Hour weekend, not a single Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II entry was on the podium.
Trouble struck all seven cars over Sunday’s Mount Panorama enduro contest, leaving van der Linde as the best finisher of the four rings in fourth, a lap down.
The #74 Team Valvoline machine the South African shared with Nathanael Berthon and Brad Schumacher was comfortably out front with roughly over three-and-a-half hours remaining until a major turning point in the race.
A two-minute penalty was handed down to the car for exceeding the 80-minute maximum stint time for an amateur driver, forcing the car a lap down.
Compounding a situation van der Linde described as ‘bitter’, lapped cars were not waved by at the next Safety Car period due to the wet conditions, and there would be no further yellows in the run to the flag.
“It doesn’t help to really blame anything today, I think just numerous things weren’t clicking,” the Nurburgring 24 Hours winner told Speedcafe.com.
“Those kinds of things shouldn’t really happen at this level; to miss the basics is kind of like, those should be done.
“It’s very frustrating; I mean leading the race by 40 seconds at that point, it’s devastating. And then it’s a Mercedes one-two-three as well, that’s bitter.”
Following their dominant display over Friday and Saturday, the Audis had weight added in a pre-race Balance of Performance adjustment.
In proof the Audis still had a pace advantage in the race, van der Linde set the fastest lap of the race, a 2:03.117s, while chasing down the lead lap.
“I think that’s what makes it even more bitter, to be honest, the days when you’re quick and you don’t win, it’s frustrating,” he lamented.
“Because in this game sometimes the Mercedes is quicker, sometimes [Audi] are quicker, that’s just how it works.
“The days when you are quick you want to capitalise and we just didn’t.
“We tried to push again at the end when I went out, pace was good again but when you’re a lap down you’re never going to drive a lap into these guys, they’re all pros.
“We were just hoping for a Safety Car, maybe we could have done something in the end, but tough.”