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Rossi: "In Imola I hope for podium, but I'm looking forward to Le Mans"

Valentino will race at home in the WEC: "It's already been two years since my first race as a car driver. I have improved a lot, but I still have to do it: jumping on the curbs here is an art."

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This weekend Valentino Rossi will play at home, at Imola, where he will be engaged in the second round of the WEC. Yesterday he competed in free practice, finishing the last session in 13th place and as the fastest driver of his crew. Today it will be the turn of qualifying (starting at 2:45 p.m.), while tomorrow at 1 p.m. the race will begin: they will be broadcast live on Eurosport 2, Discovery+ and on

It was precisely from Imola that the Doctor had begun his adventure on four wheels. "Two years have already passed and they have flown by," he recalls, " The first time I came here I was very tense, because everything was new and I didn't know what to expect. There were so many people in the paddock, more than in MotoGP, and I realized we had to get organized. I had in the race made a stupid mistake in the pit, but it had made me realize the difference from motorcycle racing, so many aspects that I wasn't used to considering."

How much have you changed since then?
"A lot. In driving quite a bit, because these are particular machines, you have to put miles on them, a lot of times it's better to go slower to go harder. If you are very aggressive you heat up the tires, you have to be clean. Above all, I improved in many other things, in the pit work."

Here at Imola you will share the track with Hypercars.
"It's one of the hardest things in this championship and it never ends. In the GT World Challenge it's wild, here the drivers have more respect. In Qatar I was quite comfortable, but here the track is narrow and it's more difficult."

How do you get on with the BMW M4?
"Our car is nice to drive, it's very sincere and stable, especially in the fast. We suffer a little from understeer. For the race, it's hard to tell until you start. We would like to fight for the podium, but we will have to see: let's hope! InQatar it had been a clean race, partly because the track is wide, here it is more complicated, plus the weather is very variable. Let's hope it's dry because in the wet we're still not right, we don't have enough grip."

How did you prepare for the race?
"This is a very special and technical track. To prepare I did one day of testing, Imola is very difficult because you have to jump a lot on the curbs and with these cars it is an art, you have to pass in the right place because you can lose or gain a lot. The GT driver lives on the curbs (laughs). Compared to motorcycles the tracks become other, because you always have to cut corners and the trajectories are different, it's not easy to learn. Also they are very strict if you cross the white line."

You have no shortage of commitments by racing in two championships.
"This is an experimental season because I have to figure out how many races to do in a year, the car drivers are crazy, they even go up to 28. I wanted to race a little less, this year I will do 16, but I am doing well. Also, the WEC is very fascinating because it is a World Championship, if it wins you become the champion of the mode. The GT World Challenge is the essence of the sport, not to mention that there is the 24 Hours of Spa, the most beautiful race for GTs."

What about the 24 Hours of Le Mans?
"I'm looking forward to it because it will be the most important race of the year and because I had a good time last year. With the simulator the circuit is boring, but in real life it's exciting, you're always above 250 Kph. I want to see what happens."

Automatic Translation by DeepL

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