15.07.2014 | A week in Paul Ricard with Kelvin van der Linde

15.07.2014 | A week in Paul Ricard with Kelvin van der Linde
The eagerly awaited advanced driving workshop was finally upon us. Although everyone was keen to start another workshop it was also tinged with sadness, as it was to be our last as an Academy group.Day One It was an early start on Day One but everyone was eager to get going. We split into two different groups, conducting separate fitness tests that we then compared to our results from fitness tests from the first workshop. This showed us the advancements we had all made over the course of the Academy. We then headed to the Paul Ricard circuit where the majority of exercises were to be held during the workshop. We were given one-on-one coaching to help us develop fine details in our driving styles and techniques, with the opportunity to put in a number of quick laps.
F80P9194 Van der Linde
Day TwoBoth driving and classroom sessions featured on day two. Coming back to the core of the Academy’s targets, we received a detailed and interesting lecture on FIA road safety and motor sport safety projects. Following this, we discussed our various career path options and were given insight into future projects of the FIA to make the route to the upper echelons of motor sport clearer. We worked off the extra lunchtime dessert calories by driving as fast as possible around the track in a head-to-head time attack challenge. To finish the day we visited the karting track for two 30-minute races. This truly brought out the fighting spirits in everybody including the coaches who also joined in the race. I really enjoyed the karting as it was fun to return to some back-to-basics racing and relax rather than being under pressure when competing. It also reminded me that the Academy was almost at an end, which was a sad moment. ID Day Three The start of Day Three gave all the participants a chance to have one-on-one conversations with the coaches and experts of the Academy. Questions regarding future steps and fitness, to name a few, could be asked. Valuable feedback was given from each of the coaches and all the drivers took careful note of the input. We headed back out on to the track to practice various challenges we had been set during the week. We then headed to the east section of the circuit to set some practice laps ahead of the final competition of the Academy the next day.
Day FourThe final day had arrived and you could feel the tension. Everybody also remembered that a memorable journey was nearly over which was a sad thought. Before heading to the track for the final challenge of the Academy, we revisited a task from the second Academy workshop in Chamonix that we had all enjoyed. We had to build a plastic racing car and the aim was to beat the record set by a previous Academy group. We set about the task using all our newly learnt techniques and we managed to beat the record of 25 seconds, completing the task in just 19.9 seconds. It had taken us seven minutes at our first attempt in Chamonix so this put into perspective just how much we had grown throughout the Academy. With a sad few minutes of reflection we got out onto the track to take the time-trial challenge.
IDAfter the competition, we headed to a tense lunch table with deep curiosity as to who would win the 2014 Academy. The announcement felt like an eternity, and then I was announced as the winner. I simply could not believe it and felt a vast range of emotions, from happiness to pride. After a year full of laughs, incredible teaching and learning it had all come to an end. To win the trophy was great but I am sure the journey of all the drivers in the Academy has just started. I have no doubt that every person involved will go on to achieve amazing things in their racing careers. I would like to thank each and every person who has touched my life. The Academy will always have nothing but special memories in my heart. To everyone involved, all the way from the coaches to my fellow drivers, I want to say thank you. We had all become really close as a group. When the bus arrived and everybody was forced to go his or her separate ways it left all of us feeling extremely sad. We all departed without a good bye, it was simply a: “See you soon guys!”

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