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Rossi sweeps Monza Rally Show for seventh win

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has claimed his seventh victory in the Monza Rally Show, sweeping all nine stages of the event's 2018 edition.

The result means that Rossi moves two wins clear of Le Mans 24 Hours winner Rinaldo Capello in the rankings of the most successful drivers in the history of the Monza Rally Show – which had also been won by the likes of Sebastien Loeb and Robert Kubica.

The dominant Italian, for who this year marked a fourth consecutive Monza triumph, shared the spoils with M-Sport Ford WRC regular Teemu Suninen on the eighth stage, but was otherwise unmatched throughout the three-day contest.

Rossi was in one of the four current-spec Ford Fiestas that ran in the WRC Plus category and locked out the top four against older-spec WRC machinery.

Suninen, partnered by WRC2 driver Takamoto Katsuta's regular co-driver Marko Salminen, had a big off at the chicane during one of the stages and ultimately ended the rally a minute and seven seconds behind Rossi.

Suzuki MotoGP staffer Roberto Brivio, brother of team boss Davide, took third place, edging out Rossi's long-time right-hand man Uccio Salucci.

Motocross great Antonio Cairoli – a Monza Rally Show regular – led the way among the older WRC cars in fifth place in his Hyundai i20. Fellow motocross star Chad Reed, likewise driving a Hyundai WRC car, was 27th.

Former Audi LMP1 driver Marco Bonanomi, who had been runner-up to Rossi in 2017, piloted an older-spec Fiesta WRC and came up less than a second short of toppling Cairoli.

The new Volkswagen Polo headed the R5 class at the hands of Alessandro Re, who benefitted from a technical infringement penalty assessed against Hyundai driver Luca Rossetti.

Davide Valsecchi, the 2012 GP2 champion, was among the competitors in R5. He wound up 24th in class and 37th overall of 85 finishers.

Rossi also beat Suninen in the WRC Plus class final of the subsequent head-to-head Masters competition - only to lose out in the four-lap super final to the older-spec Hyundai of Cairoli.

Cairoli trailed Rossi after the opening lap, but the motocross ace slashed the gap to 0.28s at halfway point before pulling away to win by half a second.

Valentino Rossi, Carlo Cassina, Ford Fiesta WRC Motorsport.com
Photo by: Monza Eni Circuit / Ghidini
Teemu Suninen, Marko Salminen Motorsport.com
Photo by: Luca Colnago
Alessio Salucci, Mitia Dotta, Ford Fiesta WRC Motorsport.com
Photo by: Monza Eni Circuit / Ghidini
Valentino Rossi, Carlo Cassina, Ford Fiesta WRC Motorsport.com
Photo by: Monza Eni Circuit / Bettiol
Valentino Rossi, Carlo Cassina, Ford Fiesta Motorsport.com
Photo by: Luca Colnago
Tony Cairoli, Eleonora Mori, Hyundai NG i20 Motorsport.com
Photo by: Monza Eni Circuit / Bettiol
Piero Longhi, Gianmaria Santini, Hyundai i20 Motorsport.com
Photo by: Luca Colnago
Roberto Brivio, Luca Brivio, Ford Fiesta WRC Motorsport.com
Photo by: Monza Eni Circuit / Bettiol
Valentino Rossi, Carlo Cassina, Ford Fiesta Motorsport.com
Photo by: Luca Colnago
Alessio Salucci, Mitia Dotta, Ford Fiesta Motorsport.com
Photo by: Luca Colnago

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