Rinus van Kalmthout comeback kid in MRF Challenge at Yas Marina Circuit
Abu Dhabi, December 16, 2017 – The contrast couldn’t have been more pronounced. On the first day of the MRF Challenge at Yas Marina Circuit KNAF Talent First car racing talent Rinus van Kalmthout (Rinus VeeKay) was literally hit by problems, to bounce back on day two with two impressive races where he had to comeback from the back of the field to finish on the podium twice. “It was good to finish this round of the championship this way after the problems we had on day one. I learned a lot again, also to deal with setbacks,” said the 17-year-old driver from Hoofddorp in the Netherlands after the third round of the MRF Challenge, where he showed his speed and fighting spirit once again.
After Bahrain and Dubai, the beautiful Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi was host to round three of the MRF Challenge. Although Rinus van Kalmthout (Rinus VeeKay) won two races and was on the podium five times out of eight races, the gap to the leader of the championship increased after he was hit by mechanical problems in the other three races. With some good results in the four Abu Dhabi races, the KNAF Talent First car racing talent wanted to be in the fight for the number one position.
In free practice the 17-year-old driver from Hoofddorp in the Netherlands once again had to deal with lack of top speed on the long straight of the Yas Marina Circuit, but still managed to finish in third position twice. But in qualifying it went wrong for the number three in the championship. “With ten minutes to go, I went out on new tyres to reset my best lap time. I pushed too hard too early and touched the wall,” the KTF driver admitted his miscalculation. VeeKay, the name Van Kalmthout uses in America and other international races, damaged the rear suspension of his car, but even worse, dropped back from third into twelfth, also his starting position for race one. But as if that was not enough on day one, Van Kalmthout was hit hard from behind after braking for the first corner in race one, went sideways and was hit by another driver. That was the end of VeeKay’s race and as a result, he had to start from 17th position in the second race.
But the KTF driver didn’t let his head hang down, showed his fighting spirit and bounced back on day two where three races were scheduled. With a good start and a perfect opening lap, Van Kalmthout gained six places, and gained another two positions on the second lap. A safety car situation stopped his march to the front and when the race was restarted there were only three laps to go. Van Kalmthout overtook another two drivers, taking the number to ten in five laps of racing and finished in seventh position. Because one driver received a time penalty, Van Kalmthout was classified in sixth.
Due to his crash in qualifying, VeeKay had to start from 16th position in race three and had to start another race to catch up the lost positions. The Dutch car racing talent proved his speed and overtaking skills and was in third position after only four laps! Although the gap to the driver in second position was already five seconds, Van Kalmthout didn’t give up, pushed hard, recorded the second best lap time of the race, to finish one second short of the number two position. The impressive race was rewarded with the number three position on the podium and many compliments.
His fast lap time in race number three handed VeeKay the number two position on the grid for race four. The KTF driver was still in second position after the start, but due to the lack of top speed, he couldn’t match the pace of the leader. But still Van Kalmthout drove away from the rest of the field to claim a safe second position, a great reward after the difficult start of the race weekend.
“I’m happy we could finish these two days with a good feeling, after the difficult start on day one. We had to come back from far behind after my mistake in qualifying. The races where I had to comeback from the back of the field were really great and I enjoyed it. I learned a lot this weekend,” said VeeKay.
With one more round and thus four races to go, Van Kalmthout is the number four in the MRF Challenge championship at the moment. With some good results in the final round, the second position is still within reach for the young Dutchman. The last round of the MRF Challenge will be at Madras Motor Race Track, Chennai, India, February 3 and 4, 2018.
This season, Rinus van Kalmthout is supported by Jumbo and the Dutch KNAF Talent First program.