Great final rehearsal for Rinus VeeKay in third MRF Challenge round in India
Delhi (India), January 30, 2017. Rinus VeeKay has done very well in the Indian MRF Challenge’s third round at the Buddh International Circuit in India. The KNAF Talent First driver finished fifth in three races and took sixth in the fourth race of the weekend. In a strong field with many Formula 3 and Formula 4 pilots, VeeKay had great fights with Mick Schumacher, Joey Mason, Harrison Newey and Ralf Aron and gained useful experience in preparation for his season in American USF2000.
The MRF Challenge is an Indian single-seater championship consisting of four rounds of four races each on the circuits of Bahrain, Dubai, Delhi and Chennai. The MRF Challenge uses Dallara Formula 3 cars prepared and run by the organisers. The third round took place at the Buddh International Circuit, India's most modern circuit where the Formula 1 Grand Prix was held from 2011 until 2013. The 5.14 km long circuit was designed by German track designer Hermann Tilke, who also designed circuits in Malaysia, Bahrain, China and the United States.
During the free practice sessions, VeeKay was immediately impressed with the circuit. "A great track, I expect to have great battles here and will surely gain a lot of experience," said the 16-year-old rookie in elated mood. VeeKay qualified seventh.
The start of the first race went well, VeeKay winning two positions. While trying to overtake, however, he fell back two places but managed to make amends with a strong race, the KTF driver finishing fifth, trailing German F4 champion Joey Mawson.
The second race saw a reversed grid for the top eight, giving VeeKay fourth position on the grid. After a fierce battle in the first lap the safety car entered the track after an accident. The fight went on after the restart, the Dutch racer passing the finish line in fifth, hot on the heels of Harrison Newey.
Starting from seventh in the third race VeeKay grabbed two positions at the start and along with Schumacher, Newey, Mawson and Drugovich managed to break away from the rest of the field. The quintet drove well, with VeeKay hanging on at the rear but lacking the grunt to post an attack. This meant that he finished fifth for the third time in succession.
The starting position for the fourth and final race of the weekend was determined by the fastest lap in the first three races. This handed VeeKay ninth on the grid. He wanted to move up quickly after the start and tried to pass a few drivers on the outside, but unfortunately it didn’t work out, VeeKay sliding off the track and dropping back to twelfth. With some stunning overtaking moves, however, he fought back to the front again. Schumacher and Drugovich dropping out due to a crash handed VeeKay sixth position, as the field crossed the line behind the safety car.
A bump in the circuit made VeeKay jump with all wheels of the track.
Rinus VeeKay was very satisfied with his racing at the Buddh International Circuit. "Great to do so many racing miles on this fantastic circuit. It's exactly what I needed to be well prepared at the start of American USF2000. Together with my engineers Diederik Kinds and Wouter Blokhuis from MP Motorsport we made great progress in preparing my Dallara. I would like to immensely thank MP Motorsport, my sponsors and my family for this unique opportunity, it was a wonderful adventure to race in India. "
Diederik Kinds (left in the photo) was also satisfied with the performance of his driver: "Rinus is making great progress. Where he initially focused on driving good laps he is now really battling. I see that his confidence has increased tremendously and that is very important."
This third of four rounds in the MRF Challenge has been VeeKay’s final appearance in this championship, since in February the KTF driver will already be in America. His Carlin Benik team has modified its testing schedule, resulting in a test program for the young driver on the circuits of Sebring and Homestead. It was therefore decided not to take part in the final weekend of the MRF championship at Chennai. VeeKay’s place will be taken by new MP driver and Red Bull Junior driver Neil Verhagen.
The American racing debut for Rinus VeeKay takes place in the streets of St. Petersburg in Florida on the weekend of 10, 11 and 12 March.