Victory, podium and third place in the championship for Rinus van Kalmthout in MRF Challenge grand finale at Chennai
KNAF Talent First car racing talent Rinus van Kalmthout (Rinus VeeKay) finished the MRF Challenge season on a high at Madras Motor Race Track. The 17-year-old driver from Hoofddorp in the Netherlands scored a dominant victory, two second and one third place, to finish on the podium in all four races. Thanks to these results the young Dutch car racing talent jumped into third position in the final standing of the MRF Challenge, only a few points short of the runner-up position. “Looking at the bad luck we had earlier in the season, I can be happy with the third spot in the championship,” said VeeKay about the championship where he showed his speed and fighting spirit once again.
After three rounds in the Middle East, Madras Motor Race Track in Chennai, India, was host to the grand finale of the MRF Challenge. Although Rinus van Kalmthout (Rinus VeeKay) won two races and was on the podium several times earlier in the championship, the MRF Challenge title was out of reach for the 17-year-old KNAF Talent First car racing talent, after he was hit by mechanical problems in some of the other races. But VeeKay was determined to finish the MRF Challenge on a high and made that loud and clear by claiming the number three position in qualifying, even though he suffered some engine problems.
Starting race one from the third position on the grid, VeeKay overtook the two drivers in front of him in a spectacular manoeuvre through the outside line of the corner, to take the lead. In the next few laps the car racing talent from Hoofddorp in the Netherlands drove away from the rest of the field, reset the track record to win the race in a dominant way.
With the reversed starting grid, the KTF driver had to start race number two from sixth position. But even that couldn’t hold back VeeKay. With used tyres on his car, Van Kalmthout was in third position almost immediately and put pressure on the driver in second position. When the leader crashed, the driver in front of him went off the track, but suddenly came back, and to avoid a collision, VeeKay had to steer his car on to the grass. The KTF driver lost at least three seconds with this action, but bounced back with the quickest lap time of the race, to finish in second position in the slipstream of the winner.
VeeKay had to start the third race from third position and had a close fight for second position. The KTF driver was much quicker than the driver in front of him, but was pushed on to the dirty part of the track or even on the grass in every overtaking manoeuvre he tried. That made it that the third position was the best he could do. Thanks to the points he scored in the three races, VeeKay moved up to the third spot in the championship, only ten points short of the runner-up position. His track record from the first race handed Van Kalmthout the pole position for the fourth and final race. With a victory, and Presley Martono third or worse, Van Kalmthout would move up to the second position in the championship.
But VeeKay had some problems at the start and immediately lost one position. In the first few laps the KTF driver put pressure on the leader, but couldn’t overtake him and finished in second position. With this result VeeKay remained third in the final points standing of the MRF Challenge. “The tyres I had in the last race were not the best of the weekend and although we changed the wing setting to get some more downforce, I lost grip with the rear wheels. With a win and great race to second position, day one of the weekend was very good. After the mechanical problems we had earlier in the season, the third spot in the championship is okay. I gained a lot of experience and learned a lot here,” said VeeKay. In the sixteen races in this year’s MRF Challenge, the young Dutch car racing talent scored eleven podium finishes, including three wins.
VeeKay will now start his preparation for his American racing season, where he will race for Juncos Racing in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
This season, Rinus van Kalmthout is supported by Jumbo, La Place and the Dutch KNAF Talent First program.