For all the star-studded names at the front of the World Rally Championship these days, it’s somewhat rare for the driver of car #51 to garner such attention.
But it’s not every day that a former Formula 1 driver is driving car #51.
Jos Verstappen has tried something new in 2022. And after just four rally starts in his life, last week he took on the WRC and Ypres Rally Belgium.
Genius? Madness? Truthfully neither, as Verstappen isn’t in this to go pro. He’s in this to have fun – and that’s exactly what he’s having.
“I discovered it too late,” he tells DirtFish, “but I discovered it and I’m happy that I did as I really love it.
“I still have a lot to learn, it’s a lot of experience, working together with the co-pilot, things like that, and then driving here in Ypres… I find here today how difficult it is.”
Unfortunately, Verstappen would go off on the second pass of Dikkebus on Saturday – he “just missed a corner by a little bit and we went off”.
But ultimately, that’s all part of the experience. And experience is what Verstappen feels he needs to gain.
“On a circuit, after three laps I know exactly where to brake,” he says.
“But here, you have to make the notes in a recce car with the recce car at 70kmh, and then suddenly you are in a completely different car with a lot more grip and a lot more speed, so it changes all the time.
“And here in Ypres, when you come here the first time and then come the second time, it’s a completely different corner.
“This is something I need to find out, what rally is all about. It’s challenging, but this only motivates me even more.”
Co-driver Harm van Koppen is similarly impressed.
“He really knows how to handle the car, so that’s something that he doesn’t need to learn in any way,” van Koppen notes. “You can’t tell him how to do that, he knows what he’s doing.
“It’s the pacenotes, it’s the rhythm in the pacenotes, it’s when you have blind corners which make it sometimes difficult what’s coming next, that’s the most important thing.
“But he sure knows how to use the throttle and the brakes, so that’s really going well.”
Go further behind the scenes into Verstappen’s WRC debut by playing the video below. And don’t forget to subscribe to the DirtFish YouTube channel for more exclusive rally content.