Motorcycle race riders taking to four wheel competition is nothing new, it’s been done before by luminaries such as John Surtees and Valentino Rossi. Latest to join the roster is Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) rider Franco Morbidelli, who competes in ACI Rally Monza with a Hyundai i20 R5, reports motorsport.com.
Competing under the Hyundai Rally Team Italia (HRTI) banner, Mobidelli received an invitation from sponsor WITHU to participate in the WRC3 class. The race slot happens under the ‘Riders Meet Rally’ programme, which places two-wheeled competitors in the driver’s seat of a full-fledged rally car in an actual round of the World Rlly Championship (WRC).
Morbidelli, who finished second in the MotoGP World Championship, is scheduled to compete the weekend of December 3 to 6 in the final round of the WRC. A crash course in rally racing is being given by HRTI driver Umberto Scandola to ensure Morbidelli has the necessary skills to compete against full-time rally professionals.
“I am electrified by the chance of taking part in a real round of the World Rally Championship,” Morbidelli said. “This is going to be good fun though, I will have to learn quickly a lot of details and it is not going to be easy to adapt to two added wheels in such a short time,” he continued.
Morbidelli’s VR46 Academy mentor Rossi has previously competed in Rally Monza over the years, winning it seven times. However, this year’s WRC calendar ends in Monza due to the pandemic shorted schedule that has affected racing series worldwide, meaning the race is included in the points total, with the race usually a non-championship round since 1978.
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