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Jos stranded in final phase BRC Sezoensrally: 'Tried, but did not get it out'

Published on 18 May 2024 by Kees-Jan Koster

Jos Verstappen and his navigator Renaud Jamoul competed in the Sezoensrally, part of the Belgian Rally Championship (BRC). The duo, in their Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 car, seemed to be heading to finish third, but got stranded in the final stage.

The 52-year-old Dutch driver told “It was more difficult here. We tried everything, but we are reaching our maximum. This rally is different again than the previous one in Wallonia, which was a much faster course. When you give it your all, but it’s not fast enough, then it is what it is.”

It is the second year in a row that Jos is racing on the roads near the Belgian town of Bocholt. The course is atypical and is characterised by dirt roads and the tricky Maas gravel. The morning starts a bit grey, but there are still a lot of spectators.

During the day there are three rounds of four different stages, with a total length of 139 km. At the start there are 81 participants. The programme of the Sezoensrally starts with the first stage in Goolder, followed by Brueghel, Gerdingen and Veldhoven. These four stages are done three times, bringing the total number of stages to twelve.

Jos finishes third in the first two stages, behind Nield Reynvoet, who leads the championship, and Maxime Potty, the reigning champion. “It was hard, you don’t know where it is slippery”, says Jos. “Especially the first part was very slippery, I just played it safe. I wanted to get though the first round and then try to push.” Jos also finishes third in the following two stages, putting him twelve seconds behind Potty, and a second in front of Reynvoet.

In the second round Jos finishes in P3, P4, P3 and P4, putting him 21 seconds behind Reynvoet who is five seconds ahead of Potty. “It is hard”, explains Jos. “We try, but it is all about trust and how much risk to take. Somehow it just isn’t working, we will have a look to see what we can do. We will have a word with the mechanics to see if we can change the setup and maybe take some more risk, push a bit harder. It is not easy. I drove here last year, so I know the stages, but the conditions are different, and it is again different in each round.”

The third and final rounds starts in P6, followed by a good second. At Gerdingen Jos goes straight on. He says: “That is where I lost six or seven seconds, I was distracted for a moment, braked too late and missed the corner. That is a shame.” The sun has been replaced by rain. The choice for tyres had to be made before Gerdingen and Veldhoven. Jos: “We tried to choose the right tyres and luckily we did.” The two closest competitors of equipe Racing, Reynvoet and Potty had a hard time on their slicks and both lost 7 seconds. Jos was now 23 seconds behind.

Jos finishes second in the penultimate stage, 1.1 seconds behind Potty. But then in the final stage it ends for Jos, who ends in a deep ditch filled with orange water. Jos and his navigator are unharmed, but the Skoda is stuck, and they do not make it to the finish. Reynvoet is fastest in the final stage and the winner of the Sezoensrally 2024, with Potty second (+3.6 seconds).