Jos Verstappen will sample Skoda’s news Fabia RS Rally2 on UK gravel this weekend. Credit: Russ Otway/

Jos Verstappen – the father of three-time Formula One World champion, Max – says the goal on the eve of his first-ever UK stage rally is to learn and improve.

Verstappen Snr is heading to Builth Wells in Wales for the Severn Valley Stages, the second round of the Probite British Rally Championship.

Fuelling interest around his appearance at an event made popular for using forest stages made famous by the FIA World Rally Championship is his car. Never seen before in the national series, spectators will get their first glimpse of Skoda Motorsport’s recently homologated Fabia RS Rally2.

Ahead of his BRC debut, the 52-year-old ex-F1 driver has been hard at work behind the scenes, applying the finishing touches to his preparations with co-driving team-mate, Renaud Jamoul. 

This has included a pre-event test with experienced local tutor Tom Cave at the sprawling Sweet Lamb Motorsport Complex – a popular stop-off for those drivers keen to accrue all-important seat time.

Previous experience of the terrain from Jamoul’s side should be a further help; the Belgian has started Wales Rally GB on seven occasions, with his last coming in 2019 before it was mothballed.

“We have got some good advice from our pre-event-test – we will try to do our best,” he added. “There is no plan in terms of performance because it will be my first time on gravel but for sure the target is to improve and be as close as possible to the top guys. We are looking forward to it.”

Former FIA European Rally Champion Chris Ingram won last month’s North West Stages in England and will be the favourite to repeat the trick on Saturday’s Severn Valley Stages.

He will trade times with four-time British Champion Keith Cronin and current Junior World Rally Champion William Creighton shortly after half eight when the first of the day’s seven loose surface speed tests start.

Clerk of the Course Keith Ashley has welcomed the attention news of Verstappen’s attendance has led to. “Having motorsport stars like Jos can only be good for the sport as a whole,” he said. “It really does feel like it is the shot in the arm gravel rallying in the UK could do with right now.”

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