Double podium for KTF-talent Rinus VeeKay in USF2000 debut
KNAF Talent First car racing talent Rinus Veekay has made an impressive debut in the American USF2000 series. On the streets of St. Petersburg, the 16-year-old driver from Hoofddorp, the Netherlands, raced from 14th on the grid to the third position with spectacular overtaking manoeuvres and impressive lap times. VeeKay did even better in the second race of the day, finishing second after another impressive performance. “Fantastic, I’m so happy with these podium results,” said VeeKay, still excited after his maiden USF2000 weekend.
For his maiden season in car racing, KNAF Talent First car racing talent Rinus VeeKay decided to take part in the American Cooper Tires USF2000 championship, the first official step on the ‘Road to Indy’, the clearly defined path for young talented drivers to reach the top, the highly regarded IndyCar Series. After some very successful tests at ‘normal’ racing circuits, the 16-year-old driver’s USF2000 season kicked off on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.
VeeKay immediately impressed with a second position in free practice. But in the first qualifying session, the Dutch Pabst Racing driver experienced the tough nature of a street racing circuit and touched the wall, dropping the 16-year-old rookie from second to fourteenth position on the grid for race one. In the second qualifying session, the KTF driver bounced back and impressed with a third position, only 0.19 seconds short of pole position. “I could have gone faster, but I didn’t want to take any risks. The speed is okay,” VeeKay said, looking forward to the races to come.
That the speed was really okay was immediately proven by VeeKay in race one. Starting from 14th position, the KTF driver was ninth after the first lap. With spectacular overtaking manoeuvres and fast lap times, VeeKay stormed to the front and was in third position after fourteen laps. When the two drivers in front of him started to fight for the race lead, the Dutch teenager closed the gap, to finish the race in third position, only 0.6 seconds short of the winner. In his first race, VeeKay had been the second fastest driver on track! “When you have to start from 14th position in a 21-car field, there is always a high risk of accidents and damage. That’s why I wanted to make an easy start, but before I realized, I was in the top six. It went extremely well, although in the end my tires were completely worn out,” said the rookie after his first USF2000 race.
In the second race, VeeKay started from the third position on the grid, and although attacked by some of his pursuers in the first few laps, he was able to keep his position. When the leader made a mistake after a restart from behind the safetycar, the KTF driver could gain a position and was second. Later in the race, VeeKay lost one position, but the young Dutchman put heavy pressure on the driver who passed him, and when his opponent made a mistake and touched the wall, VeeKay was second again and was easily able to keep that position until the finish. And so, for the second time in two races, and in his maiden USF2000 weekend, VeeKay was on the podium once again. “It was tough, because in the first part of the race I lacked some speed. But to be on the podium twice, is really great. I gained a lot of experience in this first weekend and that’s important too. I’m so happy,” VeeKay said, still excited after his second prize giving ceremony of the day.
This season, Rinus VeeKay is supported by Jumbo Supermarkets, Total, Quick sports and leisure wear and the Dutch KNAF Talent First program.