Rossi took his first Monza Rally victory in a Ford Focus WRC and also won the ’Master Show’ competition, which uses a head-to-head knockout format, for the second year in succession.
Last year, Rossi finished second overall behind former Le Mans winner Rinaldo Capello, but ahead of former World Rally Champion Colin McRae. This year, Rossi won five of the seven stages to beat Capello by 24 seconds and claim his first official rally victory, and outpaced former World Rally Champion Didier Auriol by seven seconds in the head-to-head Master Show final.
"I didn’t celebrate a MotoGP victory after Malaysia and I can say that winning in rally gives the same emotions as winning in MotoGP," declared Rossi. "The car was perfect and, above all, I didn’t make any mistakes, that is what counts most in rallying."
"After driving a rally car on asphalt at Monza and on gravel in New Zealand, now I would like to try driving in the snow," he revealed.
The Italian will be heading straight from Monza to the final 2006 test session, at Jerez from November 28-30, as he plots to regain his Moto GP crown.
"Now I’m going to Jerez to continue developing the new Yamaha and the new tyres for next season. My rivals are now very competitive and younger than me... they will be doing all they can to ’send me to my pension’ next season," warned the five times MotoGP world champion.