Rinus VeeKay claims F3 Asian Winter Series title in Sepang
KNAF Talent First car racing talent Rinus VeeKay claimed the title in this weekend’s final round of the F3 Asian Winter Series at Sepang International Circuit. In the first two races of the weekend the championship lead of the 18-year-old driver from Hoofddorp in the Netherlands was closed down to twelve points, thus the final race of the season was an exciting one for the HitechGP driver. From seventh position VeeKay fought his way back into the top three to claim the title with a 29-point advantage over the number two in the championship. VeeKay won four out of the nine F3 Asian Winter Series races and missed the podium in only one race. “I’m extremely happy to win this title. It was a thriller, but we made it,” said a still very happy VeeKay.
Sepang International Circuit was host to the third and final round of the F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA Winter Series. After dominating round number one and two with four wins, one second and one third position, KNAF Talent First car racing talent Rinus VeeKay had what looked like a comfortable lead of 29 points in the title race.
But in qualifying it was loud and clear that the title race was not over yet, and in the races the 18-year-old driver from Hoofddorp in the Netherlands couldn’t do better than fifth and third positions. In the first race of the weekend the HitechGP driver had another setback. After a great start from fifth position, VeeKay was third, but was hit by another competitor at the moment he tried to overtake the driver in second position. With a damaged car VeeKay dropped back to sixth position. Because only the drivers who compete in all the championship rounds can score points, VeeKay was awarded the points for third position.
Based on his quickest lap time in the first race, VeeKay started from second position in race number two. After another great start the KTF driver had to go wide in the first corner to avoid a collision with one of his HitechGP teammates who had braked far too late. Because his car didn’t have the speed it had in the first two rounds of the championship, VeeKay decided not to take any risk and he crossed the finish line in third position, picking up the points for second position. But as Ye Yifei, the number two in the championship, claimed both victories, VeeKay’s lead was reduced to twelve points. The Chinese driver was so much faster than all other competitors that he was easily able to open a gap to the rest of the field and was almost in a class of his own.
If Ye won the final race of the season, VeeKay would need the points for third position to claim the title. The title race was getting even more intense when VeeKay, starting from third position, had to go wide to avoid a crash with Ye, who started from pole position but had a bad getaway. VeeKay dropped back to seventh position, but while Ye was battling for the lead, the KTF driver fought his way back into fifth position, handing him the points for third position. With a few laps to go the title race was over when Ye crashed and had to give up. VeeKay finished third and claimed the title with a 29-point advantage over Ye.
“It was a stressful weekend. I now realize that a weekend where the championship has to be decided, is totally different from a regular race weekend. But I’m extremely happy with this title. I learned a lot and it was great to gain some more experience. I would also like to thank HitechGP for their hard work,” said VeeKay. After winning the Pro Mazda Championship, this is the second title in six months for the young Dutch racing talent.
Next week VeeKay will pick up his preparation for his season in the Indy Lights. This championship will kick off March 8th to 10th .
This season, Rinus VeeKay is supported by Jumbo, La Place and the Dutch KNAF Talent First program.