Valentino Rossi “a little bit upset” as Gulf 12 Hours victory slips away

Valentino Rossi’s #46 BMW M4 GT3 fought for victory until the finish of the Gulf 12 Hours at Abu Dhabi, the finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge season.
Abu Dhabi (UAE), 8th to 10th December 2023. BMW M Motorsport, Intercontinental GT Challenge, Gulf 12 Hours. BMW M Team WRT, #46 BMW M4 GT3, Valentino Rossi (ITA), Nick Yelloly (GBR), Dries Vanthoor (BEL).
Abu Dhabi (UAE), 8th to 10th December 2023. BMW M Motorsport,…

Ultimately, Rossi and team-mates Dries Vanthoor and Nick Yelloly were denied victory by 12 seconds to the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Maro Engel, Luca Stolz and Mikael Grenier.

However, that final margin didn’t tell the whole story.

Rossi had taken the race lead after 7.5 hours, then maintained his advantage throughout the one-hour stint, when he then handed over to Yelloly.

However, a problem with the pedal box cost the team 15 seconds during the pit stop, and they slipped back to second place.

Although the trio kept the victory fight alive during the remaining hours, they were unable to catch the Mercedes.

“Finishing a 12-hour race 12 seconds behind the leader after we had the technical issue with that car at a pit stop losing 15 seconds or so feels a bit bitter-sweet but at the end we had a strong race,” said team principal Vincent Vosse.

Although Rossi had achieved his podium aims, The Doctor admitted he and his team-mates were “a little bit upset” to see victory slip away.

“At the end, it was a great weekend for us,” said the seven-time MotoGP champion.

“The target was to make it to the podium and we were very strong, very fast. We had a close to perfect race.

“We could have also won and have been in P1. So in the end we are a little bit upset because we felt the taste of the victory but we had an issue with the pedal box and lost crucial seconds at the pit stop.

“This is a great shame because in the end we missed it by 12 seconds so it could have been a fantastic battle to the last lap.

“But anyway, it’s great, the car was very strong, the teamwork was as always very good and I enjoyed it a lot to race with Dries and Nick.

“It is great to finish the season with a podium. It is the sixth podium of the season. So I am very happy about this season and about the improvement.”

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