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Valentino Rossi on the Podium at Dubai 24 Hours

Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Simran Kanthi

Valentino Rossi scored his first podium in any category of racing at the Dubai 24 Hours in 2023, for the first time since the 2020 Andalucia (Jerez) MotoGP race.

Valentino Rossi and WRT #46’s 2023 got underway on 13 January, with the Dubai 24 Hours taking place at the Dubai Autodrome. The 24 Hour race has been running since 2006, and 2023’s running certainly did not disappoint.

Team WRT (who Rossi races for) had made a major switch in the GT world, from the Audi car to the BMW. It was a move that many believed might not work, however, this was mostly proven wrong, with a double podium for the #46 and the #7 WRT sister cars.

Rossi on the podium at the 2007 Spanish MotoGP, Catalunya; Credit: Lluis Gene

Rossi shared the car with other somewhat noticeable names: Timothy Whale, Maxime Martin, Max Hesse, and Sean Gelael. Between the five of them, they managed to get the BMW from P8 on the grid to a magnificent P3 finish. This was Valentino Rossi’s first time racing at the Dubai circuit and the Dubai 24 Hours - and for him to finish his inaugural race at Dubai on the podium, is a strong signifier of good things to come for the #46 BMW in 2023.

Unfortunately, the race wasn’t quite all plain sailing as a few issues did strike the #46, such as spinning out and making contact with a barrier, which we believe is because the car ran over some oil on the circuit. They also picked up a penalty at one stage in the race for overtaking under “CODE60” which is essentially the equivalent of a Virtual Safety Car for this event.

There will definitely be some things to work on, as the #46 BMW WRT car did end up around four minutes away from the sister #7 WRT BMW, which won the race. Therefore, as much as we can celebrate the fact that Rossi is back on the podium in Motorsport, work can definitely be done to ensure that the next time they’re on a podium, it will be the top step.

2023 has gotten underway then, and in incredible fashion too. WRT will simply be delighted with their double podium finish and it’s looking like an exceptionally promising year if Valentino Rossi can improve on his already phenomenal talent in GT racing. The next race event we will see Valentino Rossi and his #46 BMW will be at the 12 Hours of Bathurst: 3-5th February.

But what did you make of the 24 Hours of Dubai? Will it be all sunshine and rainbows for Rossi? Let me know in the comments below!

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