How did Valentino Rossi get on in the 24 Hours of Spa?

While Valentino Rossi successfully achieved his target of reaching the flag of his first 24-hour car race, there will be some thoughts of ‘what could have been’ all the same following a startling turnaround in fortunes four hours into the race.
VR46 Audi WRT - Valentino Rossi
VR46 Audi WRT - Valentino Rossi


Starting down in 25th, it wasn’t a strong opening for the #46 WRT Audi as it got caught up in the busy mid-pack. 

However, after Rossi stepped in to begin his first stint, three full-course yellow and safety car periods paved the way for a switch in strategy that played into the team’s hands, launching it up the order to fourth place at one stage.

VR46 WRT Audi #46 - Valentino Rossi, Frederic Vervisch, Nico Muller
VR46 WRT Audi #46 - Valentino Rossi, Frederic Vervisch, Nico Muller

It was a position it would hold for some time too, though it had dropped outside the top ten by the 6-hour mark. From here, the team’s fortunes began to turn with Rossi suffering a spin as he got to grips with racing at night-time, the Italian getting beached and needing recovery to cost him a chunk of time.

The VR46 trio’s fate was sealed around the 16 hour mark when Muller couldn’t react to an issue up ahead and struck the back of the #32 Audi. Impacting the sister car hard enough that it had to retire, Muller nursed the VR46 car back to the pits for repairs before rejoining again.

From here there were no more issues, with Rossi jumping back in the car for the final stint to have the honour of bringing the car to the flag in 17th.

He said during the race: “It’s a great race, it’s fantastic. It’s very long considering that we have another nine hours to go… it’s a long, long way. But it’s good, it’s nice to understand the car and racing in the night is fantastic."

Asked how he fared getting some rest between stints, he replied: “I slept, the problem is waking up…”

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