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Vale's Rally's

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Re: Vale's Rally's

Post by tammerz on Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:09 pm

MotoGP » Rossi eyes rallying future after bikes.
Monday, 8th December 2008

Record-breaking MotoGP star Valentino Rossi has confessed that he could see himself switching across full-time to rallying following his successful outing on Wales Rally GB at the weekend - but not just yet...


Valentino Rossi has evoked a possible full-time future in rallying after finishing a highly commendable twelfth on his second appearance on Wales Rally GB at the weekend – but added that he hopes to remain in bike racing first for ‘more than two years'.

The record-breaking, six-time MotoGP World Champion participated in the end-of-season event for Stobart VK M-Sport, aboard a Ford Focus RS WRC 07 adorned by his traditional #46, and he improved from 45th position following Friday morning's opening stage to be setting consistently competitive times come the end of the rally.

That earned Rossi praise from his fellow drivers and observers, and whilst he has insisted that his Ferrari Formula 1 tests of late have been purely ‘to have fun', the man from Urbino did confess that rallying has always a been a great ‘passion' of his and that one day he could foresee a switch from two wheels to four, and from the circuit to the gravel tracks and forests.

“It's very different, but not particularly tough,” the 29-year-old told Crash.net of having swapped between MotoGP, F1 and rallying in the space of a matter of weeks. “I decided to do this because I have a great passion for cars and for rallying, and I had this month to use for gaining experience and, in the end, to have fun. This is the main target.

“I think in Formula 1 it would be very difficult for me to have a future, because I'm quite old, but for rallying it's not impossible. I think it would be difficult to win rallies or become a world champion, but maybe with more experience and a good programme it would be possible to get some good results when I stop bike racing.

“I don't know when I will stop with bikes, though, sincerely, because if I continue to stay at this level, I'm enjoying riding a lot and my place is over there. I hope to stay more than two years.”

Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore suggested last week that MotoGP ‘would not be half of what it is' without Rossi [see separate story – click here]

by Russell Atkins

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Re: Vale's Rally's

Post by tammerz on Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:11 pm

MotoGP » WRC stars give Rossi verdict.
Monday, 8th December 2008

Sebastien Loeb and Jari-Matti Latvala assess Valentino Rossi's Wales Rally GB performance.


WRC stars Sebastien Loeb and Jari-Matti Latvala, first and second in the 2008 Wales Rally GB, have given their verdict on the performance by six-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi.

Rossi made his third WRC appearance in the three-day event, which concluded on Sunday, and - unlike in his 2002 debut - reached the finish.

Rossi completed one of the WRC's toughest events in twelfth position, one place behind his 2006 Rally of New Zealand ranking, but finished much closer to the top. In NZ, Rossi had been 20min 38.8sec behind Marcus Gronholm, but he crossed the Welsh finish line a much-improved 13min 10.4sec behind Loeb.

Loeb is the reigning five-time (consecutive) World Rally champion and, like Rossi, recently proved his talents extend beyond his chosen sport with an impressive performance in an F1 car.

The Frenchman, who admitted he would struggle in MotoGP, said that Rossi had faced a huge challenge, but clearly improved as the rally went on - the Italian having been just 45th at the end of stage one.

"I think Valentino at the moment is a world champion in motorbikes and for sure it is very hard for him to arrive like this in a world championship rally. It is like me arriving tomorrow in MotoGP. I think I would be far behind!" said the Citroen driver.

"At the end of the rally he was getting better and better and for sure he improved. But I hope he had some fun and I think he came for that. I spoke a bit with him and he was struggling a bit with the notes and I understand that. At this speed you need some experience. But he was getting better."

Latvala, like Rossi, was driving a Ford Focus WRC car. The Finn, part of Ford's official WRC team, insisted that Rossi had done a 'good job' and believes that his own career path proves there is no overnight success in WRC.

"For me Valentino did a good job," said Latvala, who finished 12.7sec behind Loeb after 17 competitive stages. "I remember when he was here the first time, because it was my first World Rally in 2002, and I had a feeling that year that there was too much pressure for him to suddenly arrive and do a great performance.

"He is doing it the right way now, by having fun and starting slowly and improving step by step and gaining in confidence. That is the way you have to come in the WRC.

"Take me for example. I have been here now since I was 17 and I am now 23. So now I am starting to be able to fight against Sébastien but it took so many years, six years, to get where I am.

"So for me, Valentino's performance was good and I am really happy to see how he is improving and if he does more World Rallies in the future he could reach quite easily a top ten position," Latvala declared.

Rossi has already stated that he would like to return to Wales Rally GB in 2009. Prior to the start of the 2008 event the Fiat Yamaha rider, who has now done three gravel-based WRC events, also revealed that he would like to one day enter an asphalt rally.

"I would really like to do a tarmac rally - like Corsica perhaps. For me now it is impossible because it is in the middle of my racing season," said the 29-year-old.

Rossi will remain a Yamaha MotoGP rider for at least the next two seasons.

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Re: Vale's Rally's

Post by tammerz on Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:13 pm

MotoGP » Rossi plans rally return, Brivio happy.
Sunday, 7th December 2008

Valentino Rossi hoping to return to Wales Rally GB in 2009, MotoGP team manager Davide Brivio impressed by his WRC pace.


Moments after reaching the finish of Wales Rally GB on Sunday, MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi expressed his desire to return in 2009.

Rossi banished the demons of his embarrassing 2002 Rally GB exit, when he crashed out on the very first forest stage, by rising from 45th to 12th on his 2008 return to one of the toughest rounds on the World Rally calendar.

"I would love to come back next year if that is possible, but that is not decided yet," revealed the Italian superstar, who drove a Stobart Ford Focus WRC car. "I have really enjoyed this rally, especially when we got some fast times [on Sunday] and hopefully we will get a chance to work again together with Stobart."

Rossi can be assured of a warm welcome should he ever return to the Stobart WRC team.

"There has been so much excitement with Valentino in the team and his presence here has been a massive boost to the squad; his times today have been remarkable," praised Stobart team principal Malcolm Wilson.

"Valentino's presence has really raised our game and he has been an inspiration to everyone in the team," added Stobart Group CEO Andrew Tinkler.

Rossi's march up the leaderboard in such a gruelling event - which saw rain, ice, snow and fog - also impressed his Fiat Yamaha team manager Davide Brivio, present in Wales and himself an occasional rally competitor.

"Valentino started carefully and was getting used to the rally. By the end he was much closer to the top and on one stage quicker than [team-mate] Wilson, so he reached his targets," said Brivio.

Rossi will remain a Yamaha MotoGP rider for at least the next two seasons, but even Brivio couldn't help wondering what Rossi could achieve if he made a full time switch to the WRC.

"It would be interesting to see what he could do if he did all the rounds of the championship," he said. "Even now he's working on his notes, getting them right and trying to understand how to describe what's ahead.”

Rossi finished Rally GB 13min 10.4sec behind event winner Sebastien Loeb (Citroen), which was seven minutes closer to the top than he'd been in his previous WRC outing at the 2006 Rally of New Zealand. On that occasion, The Doctor finished in eleventh position.

Rossi, who recently returned to the wheel of a Ferrari F1 car, has frequently hinted that he could switch to rallying after MotoGP.

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