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Rossi to Test New Rally Punto

Fiat has confirmed that Moto GP star Valentino Rossi will test its new rallying Punto

Lapo Elkann, Fiat Brand Manager and grandson of Gianni Agnelli, told Gazzetta dello Sport that he was lining up the Italian champion to test the Super 2000 Punto, possibly later this month. Rossi has been recently testing for Ferrari's Formula One team, amid speculation that he could become one of their official test drivers.

Elkann said: "I don't think he'll move to F1, not in the short term at least. In the next few weeks he'll test our new Punto rally. I would like for him to compete with it too. But it will be up to him to decide, after the test. I hope so."

The new Punto road car will be unveiled in September and the rally version is being designed to Super 2000 regulations, which have been touted as a possible replacement for WRC technical regulations for the World Championship from 2007.

Fiat Motorsport boss Matilde Tomagnini said she would like Fiat to compete at the highest level if they could afford it. She said: "We are waiting for the regulations to change. From 2007 there will be electronics and technical restrictions which will allow considerable savings.

"Our objective is to compete at a high level in the World Championship, but without spending 70 million euro per season like Peugeot did, and who are now leaving. It's obvious that the car will still be the Punto."

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