The big one! This is what endurance racing is all about. The 24 Hours of Le Mans, a jewel in the world of motorsports. I’m very grateful to participate in this event for the second consecutive year and with Prema Racing, a very competitive team, I reckoned a very decent result in the LMP2 class could be on the cards.
Because Le Mans is such a big event, the entry list was quite a big longer than during an average World Endurance Championship race. Rather than 11 LMP2 cars, there were no less than 24. Those twenty-four Oreca’s all got a chance to qualify on Wednesday evening, some days before the start of the race. Only eight of them would proceed to the coveted Hyperpole session, to fight for the poleposition.
Ladies and gentlemen, me, Bent Viscaal, qualified for the Hyperpole! In the past, I had some trouble to get the best possible lap together in qualifying sessions. All kinds of people have been telling me my race craft is my strongest point, and qualifying just doesn’t suit me. However, I have been working overtime to improve this and it pays off. Prema Racing already twice before gave me an opportunity to qualify our car and in this third time, I managed to get P7 out of a 24-car starting field. I could have been even better – I was on track to get P4 – until a red flag ended my fastest lap prematurely.
With this good feeling, Juan, who got back in the car after missing Spa, had the honor to start this great race. The early hours were chaotic and therefore difficult. Juan handed me the car in P11, and I had the task to do a quintuple stint. In roughly three hours and thirty minutes, I pushed like a bastard to get us back in the frame. The car felt not too bad, although the steering wheel had been badly compromised by an early touché.
Racing around the Circuit de la Sarthe is just another feeling. I really like this track and I feel like driving an endurance racing car is something which suits my driving style really well. In that monster stint, I got to overtake quite some opponents, handing the car back in the pits in P3. Thanks to a very quick stop, Filip, who took over the wheel, was even leading the race!
Sadly, Filip got caught out on a slippery track, getting hit by another car whilst trying to get back on track. We lost a lot of time repairing the car and therefore lost every chance to get a decent result. In the second half of the race, we only focused on accumulating data and nursing the car home. It stung to drop out whilst leading, but our speed is the silver lining.
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BENT VISCAAL OFFICIAL BY STUDIO PROGRESSUS
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