Rossi makes podium on GT debut

Valentino Rossi finished third in class on his GT racing debut at the Vallelunga Six Hours on Sunday

Rossi makes podium on GT debut

The seven-time MotoGP world champion shared a GT3-spec Kessel Racing Ferrari 430 with his best friend Alessio 'Uccio' Salucci and GT veteran Andrea Ceccato, and, after starting the race behind the safety car due to fog, was running second in the Gold Star category with half the race gone.

However, problems with the Ferrari's starter motor dropped the car down the order.

"I enjoyed myself: I had a good fight with Emanuele Naspetti, and it's been a good on-track debut with the GT cars," said Rossi.

"I only missed the battle at the start: perhaps for us it would have been better to start 30 minutes later, rather than behind the safety car."

"To drive this car compared to a racing bike is a lot easier, you sit down nice and easy, no problem. If there is a chance next year, I'd like to come back, also because when you lead with 40 minutes left to go, you are left with a bitter taste in the mouth."

After fighting back through the field, a broken exhaust caused a fire inside the Ferrari with only 10 minutes of the race left, dropping the car to third in class and 11th place overall as former Le Mans 24 Hours winner Emanuele Pirro won the category in a Chevrolet Corvette.

"There was no fear, but when you see fire, you always hope things aren't going to explode. I undid my seat belts, but I couldn't find the lever to get out of the car, then the firemen came and opened it. I had hoped the last stint to be more relaxing, instead we are left with a bitter taste."

The overall race was won by the Racing Box team of Thomas Biagi, Edoardo Piscopo and Filippo Francioni in an LMP2-spec Lola-Judd.

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