Valentino Rossi, the renowned Italian motorcyclist, achieved a remarkable milestone in his career as a BMW M works driver. At his home event in Misano, Italy, during round two of the Sprint Cup in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS (GTWC), Rossi, a nine-time motorcycle world champion, secured his first-ever GTWC victory. This triumph stands as the most significant accomplishment of his automotive racing journey thus far. Partnered with Maxime Martin from Belgium, Rossi demonstrated unbeatable prowess in the scorching heat of Sunday’s one-hour race. BMW M Team WRT, along with Rossi, also celebrated a class win in the Gold Cup category and achieved further podium finishes.
Second Win For The Italian
The race in Misano not only marked a historic victory for Rossi but also became a spectacle for his countless fans, who showered the Italian motor racing legend with boundless adulation. They witnessed their hero achieve his greatest triumph in automobile racing to date. Several weeks earlier, Rossi had secured his very first victory on four wheels at the ‘Road to Le Mans.’ However, claiming the top spot against the world’s best GT racing drivers in GTWC Europe surpasses that achievement.
Martin laid the foundation for their success by securing third place in qualifying, but it was Rossi who delivered a commanding performance, showcasing impressive lap times to secure the victory in the latter half of the race. Interestingly, Martin was also part of the last BMW race car victory in the GTWC Sprint Cup, which occurred eight years ago alongside Dirk Müller from Germany, driving a BMW Z4 GT3.
In addition to the overall victory on Sunday, BMW M Team WRT had more reasons to celebrate. Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts from Belgium exhibited an outstanding comeback in the Saturday race, fighting their way from 21st on the grid to finish in third place. Although they started from pole position on Sunday, an issue during the pit stop caused them to drop significantly, ultimately settling for ninth place.
Joining Rossi and Martin on the podium were Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer and Thomas Neubauer from France, who achieved an excellent third-place finish. Niklas Krütten from Germany and Calan Williams from Australia secured the Gold Cup victory on Sunday, following their runner-up position on Saturday.