Kelvin van der Linde will race for the Abt team in next weekend’s two races in Diriyah in place of the injured Robin Frijns, who is recovering from a broken hand and wrist sustained in last weekend’s Mexico City EPrix.
Frijns was injured in a crash during the first lap of Saturday’s season-opening race, fracturing his hand and wrist in several places after colliding with Norman Nato. Frijns underwent surgery on his wrist at the nearby Hospital Angeles Acoxpa, leaving him unable to participate in next weekend’s event in Saudi Arabia.
Van der Linde will step into Frijns’ seat at the Abt team for at least the two races held at Diriyah across the weekend of Friday 27th and Saturday 28th of January.
“Proud to announce that I will be making my Formula E World Championship debut next weekend in Saudi Arabia with ABT Cupra,” Van der Linde announced in a post on social media. “These aren’t the circumstances anyone wants to make their debut under and I wish Robin a speedy recovery. He is a key part of our team.”
Van der Linde will become the first Formula E driver from the continent of Africa when he makes his race debut next weekend. The South African has raced as a factory Audi GT3 driver since 2015 and competed with Abt in the German DTM series since 2021.
It remains to be seen how long Abt will require Van der Linde’s services. He may need to remain in the cockpit for the following races in Hyderabad, India on February 11th, and South Africa’s first Formula E event in Cape Town two weeks after that.
Despite not racing in the all-electric series before, Van der Linde has tested a Gen2 car previously in 2020 with the Audi factory team. Formula E debuted its new Gen3 car for 2023 in Mexico.
Andretti driver Jake Dennis leads the Formula E championship after the opening round by taking victory from Porsche driver Pascal Wehrlein. Lucas di Grassi finished third in the opening round in his first race with the Mahindra team.
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