Valentino Rossi has evoked a possible full-time future in rallying after finishing a highly commendable twelfth on his second appearance on Wales Rally GB at the weekend – but added that he hopes to remain in bike racing first for 'more than two years'.
The record-breaking, six-time MotoGP World Champion participated in the end-of-season event for Stobart VK M-Sport, aboard a Ford Focus RS WRC 07 adorned by his traditional #46, and he improved from 45th position following Friday morning's opening stage to be setting consistently competitive times come the end of the rally.
That earned Rossi praise from his fellow drivers and observers, and whilst he has insisted that his Ferrari Formula 1 tests of late have been purely 'to have fun', the man from Urbino did confess that rallying has always a been a great 'passion' of his and that one day he could foresee a switch from two wheels to four, and from the circuit to the gravel tracks and forests.
“It's very different, but not particularly tough,” the 29-year-old told Crash.net
of having swapped between MotoGP, F1 and rallying in the space of a matter of weeks. “I decided to do this because I have a great passion for cars and for rallying, and I had this month to use for gaining experience and, in the end, to have fun. This is the main target.
“I think in Formula 1 it would be very difficult for me to have a future, because I'm quite old, but for rallying it's not impossible. I think it would be difficult to win rallies or become a world champion, but maybe with more experience and a good programme it would be possible to get some good results when I stop bike racing.
“I don't know when I will stop with bikes, though, sincerely, because if I continue to stay at this level, I'm enjoying riding a lot and my place is over there. I hope to stay more than two years.”
Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore suggested last week that MotoGP 'would not be half of what it is' without Rossi [see separate story – click here
by Russell Atkins