Bent Viscaal has revealed that a slow puncture hampered his second Qualifying run on Friday and so was delighted to make up five places in Sprint Race 1. And the Dutchman now believes that his team can solve a few problems ahead of Sprint Race 2 that will allow him to challenge for the win.
Even with the slow puncture, the Trident driver still managed to secure his best Qualifying position of the season on Friday, finishing 14th, and he then only narrowly missed out on a fourth points' finish of the season in the opening race, classifying ninth.
“More importantly, we will start tonight's race on the front row,” Viscaal said. “There was a lot going on: battling, tyre management, and the fact that it’s a new track for everyone.
“Everyone was trying to feel what the track is going to be like in racing conditions, so I am really happy that we got into the top 10.”
Asked for his initial assessment on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit - a brand-new street track for 2022 - Viscaal added: “It is very interesting. The overtaking possibilities are pretty nice, you have got three DRS zones.
“The first real DRS zone, heading into Turn 22, you cannot really overtake there, but I did go side-by-side with Ticktum once, so it is possible.
“It provides very good racing and from a drivers' perspective, it’s one of the best tracks that I’ve ever driven. It’s very fast and there is absolutely no room for error, so everything needs to be right.”
Despite his success so far in Round 7, it’s been far from an easy ride for Viscaal, who admitted that the team suffered from a couple of other issues during the race.
But he’s confident they can be solved ahead of the second Sprint Race at 9.40pm (local time) tonight, with the Dutchman set to start from second place on the reverse grid, behind Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala.
“We struggled with raw pace, so there is still quite a lot to work on,” he said. “We had quite a lot of front tyre wear, so that needs to be sorted out. I am pretty confident that we have found the problem, so it’s going to be an exciting race.
“I will try to get to the front as quickly as possible. The minimum goal is to get a podium, but I will just do my best to stay at the front and hopefully we can win.”