For MotoGP legend Rossi, racing in a support race was a massive step towards his ultimate goal of participating in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

He had qualified in P2 but ran out of luck when the race began.

At the wheel of the #46 BMW M4 of Team WRT, Rossi excellently took the lead of the GT3 category at the first chicane.

But, when trying to avoid prototypes on the first lap he slipped to sixth.

Still, Rossi was valiantly able to battle back to P2 when he handed over duties to teammate Jérôme Policand.

But a Ferrari sent Policand spinning, meaning the #46 crew were restricted to a P15 finish.

The second Road to Le Mans race is on Friday.

Results of race 1:

1. Ligier JS P320 #58 Team Virage, Rich/Espirito Santo,

2. Duqueine M30 D08 #4, Melsom/Bell,

3. Ligier JS P320 #77 Team Thor, Gudmundsson/Noble,

4. Ligier JS P320 #12 Racing Spirit of Leman, Wolff/Doquin,

5. #320 Ligier JS P97 Cool Racing, Sanjuan/Droux.

GT3 standings:

1. BMW M4 GT3 #31 Team WRT, Whale/Hesse,

2. Porsche 911 GT3 R #86 HCR with Caffeinesix, Creswick/Fjordbach,

3. Ferrari 488 GT3 #74Kessel Racing, Cuhadaroglu/Fumanelli.