VeeKay fuelled with confidence after Sebring test day
Rinus ‘VeeKay’ van Kalmthout was given exactly one day of testing before going into the new NTT IndyCar Series season. On Tuesday, the 21-year old Dutchman came out at Sebring with Ed Carpenter Racing’s #21 SONAX Chevrolet to prepare for next week’s start of the season.
Following a tough 2021 season finale, VeeKay was keen to make a strong start to the new year. Straight after the last IndyCar race of 2021 on Sunday, September 26 was finished, the Fort Lauderdale native set his sights on the upcoming season, setting high standards for himself. VeeKay aims to take another step forward after finishing 14th and taking the Rookie of The Year title in 2020, and taking 12th and one win in 2021. The Dutchman knows that he and his employer Ed Carpenter Racing will have to work hard to achieve their goals given the extremely high level of competitiveness within the category.
At the bumpy, yet legendary Sebring circuit, VeeKay was given the opportunity to make his first IndyCar yards of the 2022 season, the young Dutchman taking to the track in a freshly liveried car and focusing on a variety of strategic and aerodynamic variations in the morning session. In the afternoon, VeeKay set fast lap times, only to be a tenth of a second off the fastest time set by Simon Pagenaud. What’s more, VeeKay proved to be the fastest driver with a Chevrolet engine.
“This was the single test day before the start of the new season and we made the best use of our time”, said a satisfied VeeKay from the Sebring circuit. “We did a lot of driving and a lot of testing. In the morning we tested various options, and in the afternoon we combined the best versions. After lunch break everything fell into place and we were super fast.”
Timesheets don’t say everything during a test day, but nevertheless VeeKay is extremely satisfied with fourth place. “The Honda-powered drivers were good and I am the first driver with a Chevrolet engine. Besides, the gap to leader Pagenaud is negligible. On top of that, the red flag waved shortly before the end of the session deprived me of the chance to set an even faster lap.”
VeeKay wants to forget his challenging 2021 season ending as soon as possible by starting the new year with strong results. “In that respect, we are well ahead – at least further than we were last year around this time of the season. This test day has given me and the team a huge confidence boost and I can’t wait to race in the streets of St. Petersburg!” the Dutch driver concluded with fighting spirit.
Next weekend, VeeKay will compete in the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season opener held on the St. Petersburg street circuit in Florida on Sunday, February 27. The race will start at 12.30pm local time, which is 6.30pm in the Netherlands. The race can be followed live on Ziggo Sport.