Rinus VeeKay on the podium in Toronto, but also losing points
With a third position in race one on the street circuit of Toronto, TeamNL driver Rinus VeeKay scored his seventh podium finish of the Indy Lights Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. In the second race the 18-year-old driver from Hoofddorp in the Netherland was leading the race when he was hit from behind and went straight on into the tire barriers. After a pitstop the Juncos Racing driver was still able to finish the race, but the ninth position was far from what he was aiming for. “The speed was great and we had the car to win the race. It’s a pity we couldn’t make it, but I’m already looking forward to the next race,” said a motivated VeeKay.
With the Streets of Toronto, the Indy Lights Championship Presented by Cooper Tires returned to a real street course for round number six of the title race. TeamNL driver Rinus VeeKay has great memories of the Canadian track as the 18-year-old driver from Hooddorp in the Netherlands won both races last year on his way to the Pro Mazda title. This year the Juncos Racing driver had a great start of the weekend as well as he claimed the number two qualifying position for race number one, only 0.08 seconds short of the pole position.
Starting from second position, VeeKay didn’t have the best start and he was third when the field entered the first corner. The TeamNL driver remained in the slipstream of the driver in second position, but was not able to overtake him. After a few laps the young Dutchman almost hit the wall on the bumpy track and lost contact with the driver in front of him. In the next few laps the gap increased to almost three seconds. But in the last part of the race VeeKay started to make up ground again, and with three laps to go the gap to the number two position was down to 1.2 seconds. In the final lap the Juncos Racing driver was in the slipstream again, and at the finish line VeeKay was only half a second short of the number two position.
Qualifying for race number two was exciting as well and VeeKay once again claimed the second position, now 0.1 seconds short of the pole position. This time VeeKay had a good start and it looked like he would take the lead. But the two drivers on the front row were taken by surprise by Aaron Telitz, who started from third position on the grid, but was able to take the lead. VeeKay was close behind the leader and as he was much quicker, he tried to overtake Telitz. When Telitz made a mistake, VeeKay made a great overtaking maneuver and was just in front under braking for the next corner, when he was hit from behind by Telitz. VeeKay went head on into the tire barriers and although the Juncos Racing driver was able to continue the race, he had to make a pitstop for a new front wing and new tires. The TeamNL driver finished the race four laps behind the winner in ninth spot. Because VeeKay’s closest rival in the championship won the race, the young Dutchman is now 25 points behind the leader.
“I tried to overtake him earlier in the race, but he pushed me into the wall. That second attempt was not without any risk, but I was in front of him. When I turned into the corner he hit me on my rear wheel. It’s a pity, but I wanted to go for the race win. We had the car to win and the pace was really great the whole weekend. I’m already looking forward to the next races in Mid-Ohio within two weeks,” said VeeKay.