Valentino Rossi at Hockenheim: GTWC Endurance Race
Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Simran Kanthi
Valentino Rossi, Nico Muller, and Frederic Vervisch achieved their best result of the season with a P5 finish at the Three Hours at Hockenheim after qualifying in P9 and having a tricky start to the race.
Rossi opened the race in a tricky first stint with plenty of crashes at the start leading to a 30-minute Safety Car after Rob Bell's McLaren speared off at the exit of the Turn 5 hairpin. Once Rossi found his footing, he made some aggressive but calculated moves, specifically down the inside of a car at Turn 1 - a risky corner as it is high-speed and very bumpy.
Rossi made an impressive recovery after running wide onto the grass at the exit of Turn 3, losing him multiple positions on the opening lap. It is becoming evident that Rossi is improving, and in my opinion, it is only a matter of time before he gets on the podium.
Vervisch took over for the second stint, arguably one of the most pivotal stints in the race, and after getting involved in an incident and having a five-second penalty, Vervisch managed to overtake several cars, putting the team in the battle for the podium. Had Vervisch not made an error at the beginning of the stint, they would have been five seconds further up the road, and as a result - could have even scored a P3 finish.
Muller finished the race, coming through and fighting everyone after the pit stops, and eventually was locked in a battle with Luca Stolz in the Mercedes for P4. Unfortunately, he couldn't quite find a way past him, and the team had to make do with a P5 finish, their personal best this year.
It is becoming more and more apparent that, not only is Rossi improving, the team as a whole seems to be building on their race craft and overall race pace at each event.
It is also quite clear where the team is really struggling - in qualifying - though it is getting much better.
They started in P9 on the grid for the race and finished P5 and, without their penalty, they definitely would have jumped Stolz's Mercedes for P4, perhaps with a chance of being involved in the battle up front for the podium.
Do you think this was WRT #46's best performance yet? Will Rossi and the team finally manage to get a podium this season? Let us know in the comments below!