Battle of the Legends: "The Doctor" v "Scratch" Valentino Rossi and Sebastien Loeb - two of the biggest and most successful names in motorcycle racing and rallying - will go head to head next week on Wales Rally GB. Rossi, the showman of...
Battle of the Legends: "The Doctor" v "Scratch"
Valentino Rossi and Sebastien Loeb - two of the biggest and most successful names in motorcycle racing and rallying - will go head to head next week on Wales Rally GB.
Rossi, the showman of MotoGP and eight times World Champion will line up behind five times FIA World Rally Champion Loeb at 6pm on Thursday 4th December for the ceremonial start outside Cardiff City Hall.
The 29 year old Italian - nicknamed "The Doctor" - will be driving a 130 mph Ford Focus World Rally Car in the livery of Stobart VK M-Sport and displaying the Pudsey Bear logo, in support of BBC's 2008 Children in Need appeal. This will be his second attempt at Rally GB (debut in 2002) and his third World Championship rally.
Loeb, whose mascot is "Scratch", is the most successful driver in the history of rallying after winning an unprecedented fifth FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) title for Drivers. Along with co-driver Daniel Elena and his Spanish team-mates, the 34 year old Frenchman now has his sights on winning the FIA WRC Manufacturers crown for Citroen. This year he has won 10 of the previous 14 WRC rounds, bringing his tally of outright WRC wins to 46 - another record. Surprisingly, from six starts in a Citroen WRC car he has yet to win Rally GB.
Although Rossi (carrying 46 on his rally plates - to match his racing number) is unlikely to beat Loeb over the closed road special stages over Forestry Commission and Military land in mid and South Wales, Ford team boss Malcolm Wilson says he has the potential to finish in the top 10 of the three-day, 892 mile rally.
Coincidently, Rossi (with Ferrari) and Loeb (with Red Bull) have recently tested Formula One cars - both setting impressive times and confirming their position as perhaps the most talented drivers of their generation.
Both are expected to have spectators cheering and blasting air horns inside the Millennium Stadium which hosts the timed Cardiff Stage at 6 pm on the evening of Saturday 6th December.
Latest Rossi news: Rossi on the new 2009 FIAT Yamaha was fastest at the recent two day winter test at Jerez. The majority of his MotoGP rivals were there. He commented, "Now we can look forward to holidays and Wales Rally GB where I hope we can have lots of fun".