© GP2 Series

Gasly heads up Prema GP2 front-row lock-out at Monza

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Pierre Gasly kicked off Prema Racing’s first home race weekend in the GP2 Series by heading up a front-row lock-out for the Italian team at Monza on Friday afternoon.

Red Bull junior driver Gasly arrived in Italy leading the GP2 standings by 17 points from teammate Antonio Giovinazzi with three rounds remaining.

Gasly and Giovinazzi entered battle in qualifying at Monza on Saturday, separated by just one-tenth of a second following their initial efforts.

Gasly opened the gap up to three-tenths with a fast lap, but was unable to improve on his final run, opening the door for Giovinazzi.

A slow middle sector proved costly for Giovinazzi as he missed out on a home pole position by just 0.054 seconds, handing P1 and four precious bonus points to Gasly.

Artem Markelov impressed en route to third place for Russian Time ahead of Arthur Pic and Mitch Evans, while Jordan King qualified sixth for Racing Engineering.

Williams youngster Alex Lynn was seventh-fastest ahead of Nabil Jeffri, while Sergey Sirotkin’s title aspirations took another hit as he could only finish ninth. Norman Nato rounded out the top 10.

Rinus VeeKay to drive for Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020

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Ed Carpenter Racing has signed 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay to drive the full 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, the team announced Wednesday.

VeeKay will drive the No. 21 Chevrolet previously occupied by Spencer Pigot.

“I’m so happy!” the 19-year-old driver from the Netherlands said in a press release. “It’s a dream come true and something we have worked extremely hard for over the last couple of years. To step up from USF2000 to the NTT IndyCar Series in three years is really special.”

In his maiden Indy Lights season this year, VeeKay collected six race victories and seven pole potions. VeeKay previously won the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 championship, and finished second in the 2017 USF2000 standings.

VeeKay’s success in the ladder series caught the attention of Carpenter, who gave VeeKay the opportunity to first test for the team at Portland International Raceway in August.

“I have been following Rinus’s path through the Road to Indy, especially the past two years,” Carpenter said. “It was clear to me that he deserves to be in an Indy car. After his first day in a car at Portland this past season, that feeling became even more apparent. His pace, feedback and demeanor inside the car was very impressive for such a young driver.”

As a driver, Carpenter will be VeeKay’s teammate during the five oval races in 2020, once again returning to the team’s No. 20 entry. An announcement on which driver will pilot the No. 20 on the road and street circuits will be made at a later time.

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