Rossi third in class on sportscar debut.

  Valentino Rossi contributes towards Kessel Racing's third place finish in the GT3 class during the 2009 6 Hours of Vallelunga endurance event.

    MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi enjoyed a respectable sportscar debut during the 6 Hours of Vallelunga endurance race, even if mechanical issues prevented him from finishing better than third in class.

    Driving a #46 Ferrari 430GT prepared by Kessel Racing, Rossi paired up with Alessio Salucci and Andrea Ceccato for the event, but he would finish nine laps behind the class winner after problems with the car forced unscheduled pit-stops.

    Finishing 11th overall, Rossi was nonetheless praised by his contemporaries, including overall winner Thomas Biagi, who took the time to trail the slower Ferrari in his prototype Racing Box Lola-Judd for a lap before overtaking him.

    “I made the most of the seven lap lead to track Valentino Rossi for a lap before overtaking him,” the 2007 FIA GT champion said. “I wanted to see how he got on on four wheels and was surprised how good he was; he really is a class apart. I would also like to thank him for drawing more attention to the splendid world of Italian motor-racing.”

    The GT3 class was won by five-time Le Mans winner Emmanuele Pirro driving a Corvette.

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