Winning in his class and finishing on the podium in previous events, Valentino Rossi was set to hit the track on 4 wheels with Kessel Racing at the Gulf 12 Hours Abu Dhabi endurance racing event – but unfortunately, he’s been pinged after coming in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
Due to make his first official competition entry after an immense 25-year MotoGP career, Rossi was set to share a Ferrari 488 GT3 with his half-brother Luca Marini and friend Alessio Salucci and continue his yearly conquest in the car event.
But, unfortunately, Kessel Racing released a statement to announce Rossi’s absence from the event:
“Valentino Rossi will not attend the Gulf 12 Hours, scheduled on Saturday, 8 January. The nine-time world champion had a contact with a person positive to COVID-19 so is self-quarantined.
“Luca Marini and Alessio Salucci are still confirmed, and they will regularly race the Abu Dhabi endurance together with David Fumanelli on the Ferrari 488 GT3 #46.”
Previously catching Covid in October 2020 and missing the Aragon double-header, this time it’s preventative isolation halting his racing.
It’s well known that the Doctor was looking at a stint in the GT racing scene for 2022, testing with World Endurance Championship outfit WRT in the Audi R8 – and this Gulf 12 Hours endurance race would have served as a good starting point & prologue for the 42-year-olds 4-wheeled career.
That’s not to say it would have been his only time racing with extra wheels – he’s famously been seen testing Formula 1 machinery, World Rally Championship events, and other GT endurance races.
Valentino Rossi will miss Gulf 12 hours – but what’s next?
Yet to decide (or at least publicly announce) his racing plans for this year, the Doc is no doubt considering where he can compete – alongside running the Mooney VR46 Racing Team in its first year.
Key to note here, also, is that WRT raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours last year in the LMP2 class. So if he competes in GT World Challenge with the team, it would surely open up a seat for the Le Mans 24 Hours.
In the last Le Mans 24 Hours event, WRT were heading for a 1-2 finish in their debut, but the leading driver suffered a technical issue on the final lap… ouch.