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Jos finishes Ypres Rally in thirteenth: 'Very difficult stages'

Published on 25 June 2023 by Misha van der Kroon

Jos Verstappen and his co-pilot Renaud Jamoul participated on Friday and Saturday in the Ypres Rally, part of the Belgian Rally Championship. The 51 year old Dutchman suffered some setbacks in the Belgian city of Ypres and finished the rally with his Skoda Fabia RS Rally2-car in thirteenth place.

Jos lets know: “I still managed to finish the rally, after suffering two punctures. A good classification was therefore not possible, so I didn’t take any risks on Saturday. The rally in Ypres is difficult, especially when you’re not from around here, like me. The stages are really tricky. But it got better and better, and I gained a lot of experience again.” 

The four stages, named Westouter, Kemmelberg, Mesen-Middelhoek and Langemark, were each held twice on Friday. After P12 and P9, Jos’ car got a puncture in the third stage.
“We were a bit uncomfortable at the start of the first stages, because we were not familiar with them. The puncture was just bad luck, and we lost 40 seconds there. Too bad, but it is what it is”, Jos said.

In the remaining stages the team, racing under the banner of Racing, finishes consecutively in P12, P10, P6, P9 and P8. That led to a P12 in the general classification at the end of day one. On Friday evening, Jos tells: “It went better the second time we did the stages. We are getting into our rhythm. We have also slightly changed the set-up of the car, so it goes better now.”

Things however went terribly wrong for the fast Stéphane Lefebvre, who went off road after a steering error in the special stage in Mesen. During the crash, his Citroën C3 rolled over about ten times. Fortunately, nobody got injured, but the crash did mean the end of the rally for Lefebvre. 

Another ten stages were on the program for Saturday, named Reninge, Watou, Dikkebus and Hollebeke. Unfortunately, Jos again had some bad luck and suffered another puncture. This time a tyre change was necessary, during which the team lost almost three minutes and dropped to P25 in the standings. 

Jos finished successively P11, P11 and P9 in the first round. Followed by P11, P12, P8 and P13 in the second round. He finished the day with P12 and P14, after which Jos ended the Ypres Rally in thirteenth place overall.