Rossi does Monza
Rossi back on winning form as he successfully defends his rally crown
Valentino Rossi has rounded off his 2016 season in style by successfully defending his Monza Rally crown with a stunning win at the three-day car race in Italy. Taking the lead from World Rally regular, and factory Hyundai driver, Dani Sordo in the second stage, Rossi eventually won by 20 seconds in the ten-stage event, with Le Mans podium finisher Marco Bonanomi finishing third.
Rossi traditionally takes to four wheels to finish off his season, admitting to MCN that after last year’s difficult end to the Motogp season he needed an escape from two-wheeled racing and loved the no-pressure event in front of his home fans.
The win means that Rossi and codriver Carlo Cassina have now drawn level with Le Mans 24 Hours winner Rinaldo Capello with five wins each at the race.
Rossi also took victory in the knock-out format Master Show race that rounds out the day, with a blown engine for Sordo handing him the win in a dramatic final race of the minitournament.
“In the last few years, together with Monster Energy, we have really built up the event to be something very special. This year we have had great weather, and a lot of people came out to watch and support,” Rossi said.
“Of course to finish the season with a victory is a great feeling. To win the rally and the Master Show at the same time is fantastic. Taking the win in front of the grandstands, with the great atmosphere in Monza, is very special to me.
“I am so focused for the entire season on Motogp racing, so when it comes to the end of November, after Valencia, I can’t wait to meet the team and drive my rally car. Of course I always want to be competitive as a rider or a driver, and I want to fight for the podium in the car at Monza.”
And, with the winter testing ban now in place and the 2017 Motogp season some two months away, the Italian admitted that it was time for a welldeserved holiday after the intense last two months.
“I’ll try to relax now, because this season was very long and with a lot of pressure. From now, I’m officially in holiday mode! I’ll stay at home and hope for some snow so that I can spend some time snowboarding.”
It was a good weekend for the rest of the VR46 team, with Suzuki Motogp team boss Davide Brivio and brother Roberto finishing fifth and best friend Uccio Saluccio in ninth.
Even in a car Rossi would really rather be on two wheels