Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Meghana Sree
The 75th running of the Spa 24 Hours took place last weekend, and with many familiar names like, “Rossi” and “Schumacher” it became a thrilling event, which explored its new safety car unlapping procedures for the first time. As for Rossi, well, in 2022 he started the race in 35th and climbed the order to finish 17th. But how did he do in 2023? Let’s dive in!
Valentino Rossi and teammates Maxime Martin and Augusto Farfus put on an excellent showing at the 2023 edition of the Spa 24 Hours, going into the race having qualified in 21st and being 0.030s out from Superpole.
In the race, which was started by Maxime Martin, they remained calm and collected in the first few hours and kept themselves mostly out of trouble. Slowly climbing the field, they were eventually locked into battle with the fellow BMW teams, and were the leading BMW for a long while.
Eventually, as Martin handed the car over to Rossi, they kept climbing into the top ten, before Rossi would pick up a time penalty for running into his teammate at the Bus Stop chicane.
Rossi would finish a consistent first stint under a Safety Car, handing over to Augusto Farfus as the night drew closer.
The night brought some chaos, as the leading WRT BMW #32 had a huge crash on the Kemmel straight, with a Rowe Racing BMW #998 driven by Neil Verhagen. There were heavy repairs to the barriers on both sides of the Kemmel straight, which ensured that there was no racing for two hours.
Farfus would manage to stay awake after running at Full Course Yellow pace for over two hours, handing the car back to Martin, who eventually brought the pace right back to the #46 BMW, and put the team firmly inside the top ten.
A somewhat more quiet early morning run by Rossi and Farfus put them in contention for the top five places, and a possible podium if they got lucky. Farfus handed back over to Martin for one final time, as Martin was definitely the quickest driver in the team, and he performed an exceptional task by reducing a 30-second gap to the car in front, to overtake them within the same hour.
Eventually, after the race settled down and gaps started to emerge, the #46 BMW WRT came across the line in P6, an exceptional result for the whole team, who recovered to sixth after starting in 21st place.
Rossi found himself in the wars a little bit, but nobody can deny the clear confidence and pace difference compared to 2022. In 2022, a 17th place finish was a very solid result for the team, but this time he finished in sixth. This is a huge improvement, and it shows just how far he has come in the GT World Challenge.
Rossi continued his run of impressive results in the GT World Challenge, and also finished as the lead WRT car as well. But what do you think? Was this one of Rossi’s best endurance performances? Let us know in the comments below!
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