KTF talent Rinus VeeKay poised for USF2000 title showdown at Watkins Glen
This Saturday, the title race in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship is set for a thrilling finale – and KNAF Talent First single-seater talent Rinus van Kalmthout (Rinus VeeKay) is one of the protagonists on the main stage. The 16-year-old Dutch driver is on course for a chapter in the history books if he manages to claim the title in his debut season. To do so, VeeKay must beat his rival Oliver Askew in the season-closer at Watkins Glen. It’s a duel that in the US is billed as a boxing match, so who will come up with the best punches? The race can be followed live via the USF2000 livestream.
KNAF Talent First single-seater talent Rinus van Kalmthout’s entry into the motorsports world hasn’t gone unnoticed. In his debut season, the 16-year-old Hoofddorp resident impressed by a string of brilliant performances in the American Cooper Tires USF2000 series. In this stepping stone on the ‘Road to Indy’ – the single-seater ladder leading towards the prestigious IndyCar Series – VeeKay, as Van Kalmthout is known in the US, achieved 11 podium finishes out of 13 races. The Dutch driver won two of those while never being classified lower than sixth! It is proof of the fact that VeeKay manages to combine reliability with pace and racing intelligence.
His strong series of results put Van Kalmthout second in the Coooper Tires USF2000 standings, a mere 13 points adrift of points leader Oliver Askew. The 20-year-old American had a strong start to his year but saw VeeKay close in rapidly towards the end of the season. If the series’ stewards had been consistent in their decision-making, Van Kalmthout would have been leading the points table by now, with even better prospects for the title showdown at Watkins Glen. At the previous race meeting, Askew with three more competitors jumped the start, and while the three others were given 17-second time penalties, the championship leader got away with 10 points off his points tally despite having been given a suspended penalty for a jumped start earlier in the season. A 17-second time penalty would have cost Askew many more points than the 10 that he lost, which would have handed VeeKay the lead in the championship.
Because of this, Van Kalmthout no longer has the outcome of this year’s championship in his own hands. In order to win, the Dutchman must win the race as well as pick up all available bonus points for pole position, fastest lap and most laps led, with Askew failing to finish among the top-three. “It all has to fall our way”, says Van Kalmthout, realistically. Nothing is impossible, however, and Van Kalmthout can take confidence from the fact that he paced the recent Watkins Glen test while Askew dropped time there.
The American series organisers can be trusted to bill their title duel as a true showdown between two fierce rivals of which ‘Only one will be the Champion’ but the 16-year-old Dutchman is keeping his cool and will aim for maximum points.
The championship decider at Watkins Glen will be run on Saturday 2 September at 13:15 local time (19:15 Dutch time). The race can be seen live through a livestream at www.usf2000.com/results/live-timing. More on the Cooper Tires USF2000 series can be found here: www.usf2000.com.
Rinus van Kalmthout will also be on TV, on 17 September at 18:00. The KTF driver will be a guest in the RTL GP TV show that will devote ample time to the Dutchman’s American adventure. RTL GP is aired on the RTL7 station.
This season, Rinus van Kalmthout is supported by Jumbo Supermarkten, Total, Quick sports and leisure wear and the KNAF Talent First program.