Cape Town E-Prix a "dream come true" for Kelvin van der Linde

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Cape Town E-Prix a "dream come true" for Kelvin van der Linde

It’s a “dream come true” for ABT CUPRA’s Kelvin van der Linde, who will race on home soil this weekend as the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship races in Cape Town for the first time.

Kelvin van der Linde South Africa Cape Town debut Formula E home race

Van der Linde was confirmed to be in the car earlier this week, though Robin Frijns was in contention for a return to his seat following that injury sustained in Mexico City

It proved to be too soon for the Dutchman, though, and van der Linde is hoping to capitalise on home soil, in front of a passionate South African support – with interest in the E-Prix at fever pitch.

"This is a dream come true; driving a World Championship race in South Africa," said the 26-year-old Johannesburg-born driver. "We all hoped that Robin would be fit in time but of course, I will now give everything to represent him decently in Cape Town as well.

READ MORE: The full Cape Town preview

"I want to come into this week and absolutely enjoy it. We are up against a big challenge here, despite already having done two weekends in India and in Saudi, it still is a massive challenge, we still have some obstacles in our way. There hasn’t been a lot of time to get used to the car despite two races having passed by. 

Kelvin van der Linde ABT CUPRA Formula E

"It’s not the ideal circumstances to have a home race because I would obviously like to come in here a lot better prepared with a full season or a pre-season of preparation. But like I said I want to come in and I want to enjoy the week. I think there is a lot to show the South African fans."

The van der Linde family are really flying the flag for South Africa this weekend. While Kelvin is racing in Formula E, his brother Sheldon is racing sportscars at Kyalami - again on home soil.

WATCH: Don't miss a minute of the Cape Town E-Prix

"We are a family of compromises and so we split it down the middle and my dad will be coming to Cape Town and mom will be in Johannesburg, so I think you can tell which child is the favourite for each parent, it’s pretty clear with that question (laughs)! We avoided any arguments at the dinner table, I think that is a good compromise,” said Kelvin.

"It’s just great to be here. I was here in December over the off-season and the last thing on my mind was that I would be racing here. The preparation at that point in time was me being the reserve driver and not on racing here.

"Since landing in Cape Town, it’s been amazing and my phone hasn't stopped ringing. The reception from the local guys here has been amazing and my schedule has been absolutely packed. I’m actually looking forward to getting on-track and Shakedown – it might be the most relaxing part of the weekend so far.

"Cape Town is an iconic city and fits in with the other world cities we go to perfectly. From everything I’ve heard from drivers, teams, mechanics and everybody else in the paddock – they love it here and I’ve not heard a bad word from anyone here.

"For the championship itself, I think it’s ground-breaking. There hasn’t been World Championship single-seater motorsport here for a while and this event can be a real showcase for the country and the city on the world stage."

Mueller: ‘Stunning Cape Town shots will go around the world’

Van der Linde has shown himself well this season, outperforming teammate Nico Mueller in Diriyah before technical trouble hit in Hyderabad. Mueller himself steered to the cusp of the points last time out. An 11th placed finish was the team’s best finish of the season and shows the returning ABT CUPRA squad are making progress after a season out of the series.

Nico Mueller ABT CUPRA Formula E

“After the first laps there, I think we’ll be facing the fastest track on the calendar,” says Mueller. "Especially with the GEN3 car and its higher output, it will be exciting and definitely a challenge for us drivers.
“We’ve been working intensively on our to-do list despite the short break after India and want to make further progress in Cape Town. The scenery will be impressive. The pictures from Cape Town will go around the world.
“The anticipation for the debut of Formula E in Cape Town is huge, you can feel it throughout the paddock,” added Team Principal Thomas Biermaier. “It’s a bit of a dream come true for our local hero Kelvin, even if he would of course have wished the circumstances of his home race to be different.
“We recently made steps forward in India, and that’s exactly where we want to pick up: the goal in Cape Town must be to race for points again.”