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Valentino Rossi and WRT #46 at Valencia - GTWC 2022

Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Ishani Aziz

Credit: Jose Jordan - Getty Images. (Rossi last time at Valencia in 2021)

10 Months on since his MotoGP retirement, Motorsport legend Valentino Rossi returned to the Circuit Ricardo Torno, in Valencia - to compete in yet another round of the GT World Challenge Europe.

Race One saw The Doctor have a somewhat difficult first stint, purely because the Circuit Ricardo Torno is so difficult to overtake on, on bikes (let alone massive 1250kg GT3 Cars). Rossi was in the mix, fighting the other drivers, unable to really make a pass at any corner because of the nature of the circuit. He thus ended his stint by driving to 13th. Fred Vervisch would pick the car up for the second stint, and although he drove at a very quick pace on that Saturday afternoon, it just wasn’t enough to really find a way through the pack.

Credit: Jules Benichou

Race Two saw Fred Vervisch open the race, in wet conditions. Vervisch had an exceptionally punchy start, gaining two positions on the opening lap. He drove incredibly well in his stint, however once he handed the car over to Valentino Rossi at the halfway mark of the race… issues would arise, and the team had to stop the car due to a mechanical failure.

This has been the second time this year that WRT #46 has not finished a race, and although we don’t know the specifics as to why they had to retire, it didn’t exactly do rookie GT driver Valentino Rossi any good. Overall, this weekend had some positives to take away for all the Rossi fans, namely that he was on the pace and well on the cusp of Top 10, all in his rookie year.

Credit: Jules Benichou

Rossi has said that he expects to continue in the GT World Challenge Europe in 2023, meaning that we will certainly see his progress in a year’s time. But one thing is for sure, Rossi needed to improve his pace, and it is working - slowly but surely, it is working.

The finale of the GT World Challenge is coming up in Barcelona, Spain - Catalunya and will be a 3-Hour race. With Rossi’s excellent bike knowledge of that circuit, and his ever-improving pace inside that Audi R8 LMS Evo II.

However, Catalunya looms and presents yet another tight and twisty track on which it is difficult to overtake. So, if Rossi is to end this GTWC season with a strong finish, he needs to aim high. Hopefully we will be able to see a Top 5 finish for WRT #46 - or perhaps… even that long-awaited inaugural Rossi GT podium?

We only have to wait nine days until the season finale in Barcelona!

In the meantime, how about heading over to the official Divebomb YouTube channel?

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