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Jos 11th after first day at Hellendoorn Rally: 'Unfortunate, as it went great'

Published on 15 September 2023 by Misha van der Kroon

This weekend, Jos Verstappen and navigator Renaud Jamoul participate in the Hellendoorn Rally. The 51-year old had a solid start in his Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 on Friday evening, but unfortunately got off the course and saw his leading position turn into a two-minute deficit in the final stage of the evening.

The rally, which is held in the east of the Netherlands, consists of six special stages on Friday evening, spread over two rounds of three stages each. The first round over the stages Daarle, Hallerhoek and Mageleresch was held by daylight, but when the second round started at 21.15 hrs local Dutch time, the night had fallen.  

“Too bad that I went off track, because it went great. Unfortunately, these things can happen and it is a part of rally driving. There’s nothing I can do about it now,” Jos says. The car sustained some damage, especially on the front right. “Hopefully the car will be repaired on time, so we can start on Saturday. We have to wait and see, the mechanics will work on it.” 

In the first stage, Jos was only 1.7 seconds slower than Bernhard ten Brinke, and in the second stage Jos was 0.7 seconds quicker than the experienced rally driver. He was also fastest in the third stage, increasing his lead by seven seconds. This put him in first place after the first round of three stages, 5.9 seconds ahead of Ten Brinke.

In the second round, held over the same three stages, Jos had to give in one tenth of a second to Ten Brinke, only to take 3.8 seconds on the other driver in the following stage. After five stages, Jos Verstappen is on top of the rankings with a gap of 9.6 ahead of Ten Brinke. However, in the sixth and final stage on Friday evening, disaster struck. At Mageleresch Jos ran off track into a field and got stuck in a ditch when trying to continue his way. He lost over two minutes, meaning that he finished the first day of the rally in eleventh place overall. 

Ten more stages are scheduled for Saturday, the second day of the Hellendoorn Rally. The stages will be spread over two rounds of five stages each.