WRC stars Sebastien Loeb and Jari-Matti Latvala, first and second in the 2008 Wales Rally GB, have given their verdict on the performance by six-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi.

Rossi made his third WRC appearance in the three-day event, which concluded on Sunday, and - unlike in his 2002 debut - reached the finish.

Rossi completed one of the WRC's toughest events in twelfth position, one place behind his 2006 Rally of New Zealand ranking, but finished much closer to the top. In NZ, Rossi had been 20min 38.8sec behind Marcus Gronholm, but he crossed the Welsh finish line a much-improved 13min 10.4sec behind Loeb.

Loeb is the reigning five-time (consecutive) World Rally champion and, like Rossi, recently proved his talents extend beyond his chosen sport with an impressive performance in an F1 car.

The Frenchman, who admitted he would struggle in MotoGP, said that Rossi had faced a huge challenge, but clearly improved as the rally went on - the Italian having been just 45th at the end of stage one.

"I think Valentino at the moment is a world champion in motorbikes and for sure it is very hard for him to arrive like this in a world championship rally. It is like me arriving tomorrow in MotoGP. I think I would be far behind!" said the Citroen driver.

"At the end of the rally he was getting better and better and for sure he improved. But I hope he had some fun and I think he came for that. I spoke a bit with him and he was struggling a bit with the notes and I understand that. At this speed you need some experience. But he was getting better."

Latvala, like Rossi, was driving a Ford Focus WRC car. The Finn, part of Ford's official WRC team, insisted that Rossi had done a 'good job' and believes that his own career path proves there is no overnight success in WRC.

"For me Valentino did a good job," said Latvala, who finished 12.7sec behind Loeb after 17 competitive stages. "I remember when he was here the first time, because it was my first World Rally in 2002, and I had a feeling that year that there was too much pressure for him to suddenly arrive and do a great performance.

"He is doing it the right way now, by having fun and starting slowly and improving step by step and gaining in confidence. That is the way you have to come in the WRC.

"Take me for example. I have been here now since I was 17 and I am now 23. So now I am starting to be able to fight against S?bastien but it took so many years, six years, to get where I am.

"So for me, Valentino's performance was good and I am really happy to see how he is improving and if he does more World Rallies in the future he could reach quite easily a top ten position," Latvala declared.

Rossi has already stated that he would like to return to Wales Rally GB in 2009. Prior to the start of the 2008 event the Fiat Yamaha rider, who has now done three gravel-based WRC events, also revealed that he would like to one day enter an asphalt rally.

"I would really like to do a tarmac rally - like Corsica perhaps. For me now it is impossible because it is in the middle of my racing season," said the 29-year-old.

Rossi will remain a Yamaha MotoGP rider for at least the next two seasons.