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Jos Verstappen on WRC Ypres debut: "Max thinks I'm crazy"

Ex-Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen says son Max Verstappen thinks he is “crazy” for taking up rallying, but is supportive of his father’s World Rally Championship debut this weekend.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, with his father Jos Verstappen

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, with his father Jos Verstappen

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Verstappen Sr will join the WRC ranks at Ypres Rally Belgium, piloting a WRC2 specification Citroen C3 in the tough asphalt event.

The 50-year-old, who managed two F1 podiums from his 106 starts with Benetton, Simtek, Footwork, Tyrrell, Stewart, Arrows and Minardi, only took up the discipline a year and a half ago.

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This weekend’s outing at Ypres Rally Belgium is only the fifth rally of the Dutchman's career after he made his competition debut aboard the C3 in the Belgian Rally Championship earlier this year.

Speaking to select media including Autosport, the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours class-winner says his F1 world champion son has taken an interest in rallying and is keenly following his father’s progress.

“He thinks I’m crazy,” smiled Verstappen, when asked what Max thinks of his career change.

“But he understands and he enjoys it. I have him on the phone every day. He likes it and he enjoys it as long as I have fun.”

Verstappen also revealed that Max has tested his C3 Rally2 car, confirming the Red Bull F1 star quickly adapted to the new discipline in the brief outing.

“Once you have the feeling it doesn’t matter what car you drive,” Verstappen added.

“We had this trackday and he [Max] was very fast, I had no chance.”

Verstappen will campaign a Citroen C3 R5 in Belgium's WRC event

Verstappen will campaign a Citroen C3 R5 in Belgium's WRC event

Photo by: Frits van Eldik

Verstappen explained that fun was the key ingredient that sparked his decision to try out rallying, admitting that the discipline mirrors the feeling of adrenaline experienced when racing in F1.

“It is excitement at every stage,” he said. “When you do a Formula 1 race you have that excitement before the race and then you have the start and that starts the adrenaline.

“But here in rally you have this eight times a day. Then it is so exciting because you don’t know the circuit and you have to listen, and this makes it exciting.”

Looking ahead to this weekend’s rally, Verstappen says finishing the 281.58km event is the target as he looks to continue his steep learning curve. He hopes it will lead to further outings in the WRC next year.

“To finish, this is the main goal,” he added.

“It is a long [event], it is going for the whole week but physically it shouldn’t be a problem.

“I will have to stay calm and try to finish it, as there is a lot of stages. But it is good, that is why I’m here.

“You have to take your time. Of course, you want to go on the limit with the cars, but you have to adapt to what is coming. Nobody knows how the track will be after 30 cars have been through.

“I hope we can go through the first day and get that experience in.”

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