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Fiat Aiming to Lure Rossi

Italian car manufacturer Fiat is aiming to beat a host of Formula One teams to get Valentino Rossi's signature on a contract to switch to four-wheeled competition, according to a report in this week's Motorsport News

The six-time motorcycle world champion has been surrounded by speculation about a move to Grand Prix racing when his two-wheeled career is over but, having expressed a keen interest in rallying, Fiat is now making a bid to lure him to join their future plans.

The rumours about Fiat's plans were fuelled by the presence of the company's senior manager Lapo Elkann at last weekend's MotoGP race at Barcelona in Spain.

Fiat have offered Rossi a test in a prototype Super 2000 Punto next month amid speculation that the company plans to make an entry into the World Rally Championship in the next few years.

Fiat Motorsport boss Matilde Tomagnini told Motorsport News: "For me it would be a dream if he (Rossi) tried the Punto 199. Who would not want Valentino?

"Valentino is a winner and I would never make him test a car that did not live up to his expectations. We are developing a winning car so that, at the right time, he will not be able to say 'no' to me."

Rossi already has experience of rallying, although many of his exploits have ended in accidents. He drove a Peugeot 206 WRC on the 2002 Wales Rally GB and has also driven in the Bettega Memorial Rallysprint and the Race of Champions.

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