Valentino Rossi may not have won a MotoGP race since September's Portuguese Grand Prix, but the Italian was back on the top step of the podium on Sunday - at the Monza Rally Show (pictured).

The former five-times MotoGP world champion, who fractured his hand earlier this month, drove a Pirelli-shod Ford Focus WRC car to his second successive victory in the end-of-season asphalt event.

Alex Perico had set the early pace for Peugeot, but Rossi took the lead halfway through the first leg and was able to build a 33-second advantage over Subaru's Piero Longhi by the finish - despite treacherous weather conditions producing standing water on many parts of the track.

Pirelli rally manager, Mario Isola was delighted with the result: "Our consecutive wins at the Monza Rally Show should be seen in the light of the fact that we operate two separate lines of development for our rally tyres: those to be used on the WRC - of which we will be the exclusive supplier next year - and those used on non-WRC events, which are no less important to us.

"Thanks to our know-how and the experience we have developed from every event, we are able to supply competitive tyres to all our drivers using Pirelli PZero rubber on rallies.

"We have also proved our ability to hand-cut these tyres precisely, as we did for many drivers at Monza including Rossi and [Luca] Cantamessa [who took the Group N win], in order to suit variables such as the car, road surface and weather conditions."

For the record, Rossi had been in talks to do this coming weekend's Wales Rally GB, the final round in the 2007 FIA World Rally Championship, which runs from November 30 to December 2, however in the end the Italian opted not to take part.

To date, Rossi has done two WRC events, and last year he impressed on the Rally New Zealand, finishing eleventh overall, just 18.8 seconds off a place in the top ten in a Subaru Impreza WRC car.

The result was in stark contrast to how he did on his first WRC outing in 2002, when he crashed out on the Rally GB in his Michelin-backed Peugeot 206 WRC just 17 kilometres into the event.

Rossi meanwhile will be back on two wheels this week, during testing at Jerez, when he is due to ride with Bridgestone tyres for the first time.

 

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