Franco Morbidelli of Petronas SRT in rally

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Motorcycle racers entering the competition on four wheels are nothing new, it has already been done by luminaries such as John Surtees and Valentino Rossi. The latest to join the team is Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing (SRT) rider Franco Morbidelli, who competes in the 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 the sponsor WITHU to participate in the WRC3 category. The race takes place as part of the “Riders Meet Rally” program, which places two-wheeled competitors in the driver’s seat of a full-fledged rally car in a full-fledged World Rally Championship (WRC) round.

Morbidelli, who finished second in the MotoGP World Championship, is set to compete in the weekend of December 3-6 in the final round of the WRC. A crash course in rally racing is taught by HRTI driver Umberto Scandola to ensure Morbidelli has the skills to compete with full-time rally professionals.

“I am electrified by the chance to participate in a real round of the World Rally Championship,” said Morbidelli. “It’s going to be a lot of fun though, I’m going to have to learn a lot of details quickly and it won’t be easy to adjust to two extra wheels in such a short time,” he continued.

Morbidelli’s VR46 Academy mentor Rossi has competed in the Monza Rally over the years, winning it seven times. However, this year’s WRC schedule ends at Monza due to the shortened pandemic schedule that has affected racing series around the world, meaning the race is included in the points total, with the race generally being a non-championship round since 1978.


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