MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi saw his hopes of winning a third Monza Rally title in a row end with a mistake on day two, but he still charged up the order to finish in second position.

Driving a Ford Focus WRC car, Rossi was leading the rally heading into Saturday's second stage - the third stage of the rally - when a mistake cost the eight-time world champion 27 seconds.

Rossi dropped to sixth in the overall standings as a result, but had climbed to fourth by the end of the day.

Victory in both of Sunday's stages then enabled The Doctor to leapfrog Alessandro Caffi (Peugeot) and Piero Longhi (Subaru) on the very last stage. Rossi thus finished second overall, 20.3sec behind event winner Rinaldo Capello (Ford) and 3.6sec ahead of Longhi.

In the 'Master Show' competition, which features a one-on-one knockout format, Rossi reached the final, but was beaten by Longhi.

"Unfortunately the error yesterday caused me to lose a lot of time," said Rossi, who won four of the eight stages. "I'm sorry about that, because we had the potential to win. However, today [Sunday] went well, I won both stages and I got to the final of the Masters Show, where Longhi was just too quick for me. That's ok though; for next year we'll sign up again to win the MotoGP world championship and finish second in the Monza Rally!"

Rossi's friend and newly crowned 250cc world champion Marco Simoncelli finished sixth in the S20 class (and 27th overall). Rossi's team manager Davide Brivio was one place behind in the same class, with Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo three places further back in S20 (and 38th overall). All three were driving Fiat Punto S2000s. Meanwhile, Valentino's father Graziano drove a Ford Mustang to twelfth in the GT class (78th overall).

Rossi is scheduled to test a Ferrari Formula One car later this week while his next rally outing will be at Wales Rally GB, the final round of the 2008 World Rally Championship, from December 5-7.

2008 Monza Rally:

1. Rinaldo Capello/Luigi Pirollo Ford Focus WRC 1hr 11min 11.5sec
2. Valentino Rossi/Carlo Cassina Ford Focus WRC +20.3sec
3. Piero Longhi/Luca Cassol Subaru Impreza WRC +23.9sec

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