Valentino Rossi: two off-piste in the FP of Zandvoort, Mercedes leader

Free practice and pre-qualifying in Zandvoort, the Netherlands, ahead of the two sprint races of the GT World Challenge. The fastest car is Marciello’s Mercedes-Amg, with the Stuttgart house and Audi taking the top spots. Rossi and Frédéric conquer a 14th place in the afternoon

Giulio Masperi

– Milan

Complicated first day for Valentino Rossi in Zandvoort, in the Netherlands, home to the fifth round of the GT World Challenge Europe championship, Sprint Cup. Friday 17 June for the Italian, two runs and a change of frame made necessary after the accident in the morning. with the 43-year-old still managing to get back behind the wheel of his Audi R8 Lms in the afternoon during pre-qualifying. At the end of the day, the absolute best time was set by the Mercedes-Amg number 89 driven by Marciello and Boguslavskiy during pre-qualifying in 1’33 ” 459, ahead of four Audi R8s. For the pair Rossi-Frédéric Vervisch on the number 46 the day ends with a 14th time at 1’34 ” 840. The weekend includes two 60-minute races, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June, in free streaming on the “GT World Challenge” YouTube channel and on Sky Sport.


On the 4,307 kilometer long track, with 14 corners, also home to the Dutch Formula 1 GP, the first day saw the 25 GT3 class cars protagonists of free practice, in the morning, and pre-qualifying (a second session of free, in fact, valid for the start times, if the qualifications cannot be held). In both sessions the fastest car was the number 89 Mercedes-Amg, which set the reference time in free practice at 1’34”101, and in the afternoon it filed that reference down to 1’33”459. In the Free Practice, a large “patrol” of Mercedes-AMG and Audi finished in the first 12 places; the Ferrari 488 number 53 (AF Corse) of De Pauw-Jean is 13a. In the afternoon pre-qualifying Mercedes and Audi confirmed themselves in the top five, with the Porsche 911 number 56 of Giorgio Roda and Bachler in 6th position. Ferrari number 53 is confirmed 13th. In view of the two sprint races, a tight challenge is expected, considering that the first 22 cars in pre-qualifying are within less than 1 second and 9 tenths.


As anticipated, Rossi and Vervisch’s crew are unlucky on Friday. In the first free session, in the late morning, after three laps the nine-time world champion in the World Championship ends up off the track in turn 3, crashing into the protections: no consequences for the rider, but the damage to the Audi R8 Lms forces the Wrt team to replace the chassis, in time for the afternoon pre-qualifying session. In the latter, at the same point in the morning, Rossi ends up in the gravel, but with the intervention of the marshals his Audi manages to get back on track. And in the final laps it is Valentino himself who sets the best time (14th overall) in 1’34”840, with a delay of 1”381 on the leaders.

#Valentino #Rossi #offpiste #Zandvoort #Mercedes #leader

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