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Jos second in BRC Sezoensrally: 'Extremely satisfied'

Published on 20 May 2023 by Heidi De Love

Jos Verstappen faced a new challenge in the Belgian Bocholt, just across the border, in the atypical Sezoensrally, characterized by the largely unpaved course. Together with co-pilot Renaud Jamoul, the 51-year-old driver put on a strong performance managed to achieve second place in his Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 car.

“I am extremely satisfied with this second place”, a good-humored Jos lets us know after the podium. “It’s a nice way to return to the Belgian Rally Championship, with my best result in this championship. And it wasn’t the easiest rally.” Jos continues: “The first round took some getting used to, but after that it went really well. Also thanks to my co-pilot Renaud and his notes. From then on everything went top notch.”

The early morning weather is already radiant, bringing a large number of visitors to the welcoming environment. During the day, three rounds of five different special stages each are driven, with a total length of 274 km, of which 143 km are at speed. There will be 84 participants starting.

The program of the Sezoensrally, part of the Belgian Rally Championship, opens with the first stage in Goolder, followed by Brueghel, Steenberg, Gerdingen and Veldhoven. On the first five stages Jos records fifth and sixth times, followed by third, sixth and fourth times. After the first circuit, that puts him at P5 in the overall standings, 33.6 seconds from Maxime Potty, the leader in the Belgian championship.

Jos lets know: "It feels good, but it's different and takes some getting used to on gravel. It's still searching with slicks on gravel. You have to adjust your speed to keep margin and brake earlier than on asphalt. It's hard to find your braking point and feel how much grip there is on the gravel. It's more difficult. In the woods, the dust sticks a little more and visibility is less, but it's still going ok."

Gravel driving requires a slightly different technique, Jos explains: "The car rolls over the pebbles and you shouldn't be afraid to go sideways. You have to drive a little more by feel. But it's still important to be on the inside of a corner and straighten the car as you accelerate. That goes well. I have a good co-pilot and have confidence in his notes. Our cooperation is going very well, that's good. I try to go a little harder every lap. But the fact that I haven't driven here before does put me at a disadvantage. Knowledge of the course is important."

In the second round, Jos manages to immediately turn his gained experience into speed. Promptly, Verstappen wins the sixth and seventh stages. In the eighth and ninth stage he takes P2 and on the tenth stage he takes third place. Because of these good results Jos has moved up to second place in the overall standings and even gained seven seconds on Potty. However, the lead over P3 (Niels Reynvoet) and P4 (Charles Munster) is only a few seconds.

Jos lets us know: "It already went better than the first round, but it's not over yet. We still have five more tests to go. I'm trying to pick up the pace a little more. Things are going well: the car is fast and I'm feeling better and better in the rally. That gives a good feeling. You see it's important to gain experience and drive as many rallies as possible."

During the last round Jos keeps the pace brisk. He is again the fastest on Goolder and Brueghel. In Steenberg and Gerdingen he comes through in second place. Thus, with one stage to go, Verstappen is second overall, still four seconds ahead of P3. Also in the final stage Jos comes second, by just two tenths. Thus Jos Verstappen finishes in a fine second place in the Sezoensrally, fourteen seconds behind Potty and four seconds ahead of Reynvoet.