The 6-hour race at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit did not deliver the hoped-for WEC debut of Bent Viscaal. The 22-year-old Tukker would make his entrance into the World Endurance Racing Championship during the second race of the 2022 season, but was unable to do so due to a crashing teammate.
After a rock-solid endurance debut with Algarve Pro Racing in the European Championship, the ELMS, a two-time Formula 2 podium customer and Formula 3 race winner, Viscaal was approached by Slovakian team ARC Bratislava to compete in the World Championship. As a warm-up for the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, in which Viscaal will drive in five weeks, the young Dutchman was allowed to join Miroslav Konopka’s team.
However, the trip to the Ardennes was not the happiest in the history of the Slovakian team. From the first free practice on Thursday afternoon, ARC Bratislava was not doing well at all. Several mechanical defects were alternated by a steering error by one of Viscaal’s colleagues, as a result of which the resident of Albergen in Twente only managed to drive a handful of laps in three training sessions.
Since team and compatriot Tijmen van der Helm was already able to gain some more racing experience with ARC Bratislava’s LMP2 car, the racing stable decided to appoint him for qualifying. Van der Helm recorded a nineteenth time overall, which resulted in fourth position in the LMP2-Pro/Am category.
Team owner and driver Konopka then took charge of the start of the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. However, the Slovakian driver had to deal with a mechanical failure, after which he crashed hard. Viscaal, who was preparing to get in the moment his teammate hit the wall, was left empty-handed. The Dutchman has to postpone his WEC race debut until Le Mans.
“What can I say?” Viscal sighs. “To say it didn’t go the way we wanted is an understatement. In practice I only drove a few laps and just when I wanted to make my race debut, the car turned out to be too badly damaged to continue driving. I drove to Spa-Francorchamps for ten minutes of track time. Well, you can’t know these things in advance. Besides, it’s part of motorsport, you know it can happen. Nevertheless, I am of course disappointed.”
“I’m going to get ready for the second race in the ELMS championship, as I’m already expected at Imola next Friday. The result of the first race in that class is very promising and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel again. As for my participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with ARC Bratislava, I am happy that we have at least a few practice sessions to get over any problems.”
Viscaal will continue his racing season next Sunday, May 15, when the 4 Hours of Imola is scheduled. The race in Italy will start at 11:30 am. Training takes place on Friday and qualifying takes place on Saturday. In the ELMS, Bent Viscaal will ride with the German lady Sophia Floersch at Algarve Pro Racing.