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Seven times world motorcycling champion, Valentino Rossi, will be able to sport his favourite No 46 in this month’s Propecia Rally New Zealand.

The Italian ace is swapping two wheels for four in the penultimate round of the World Rally Championships to be held in and around Hamilton.  Rossi will carry his favoured No 46 on his Subaru Impreza for the event.

The FIA has agreed to let Rossi run the number which English FIA Production Car World Rally Championship contender, Nigel Heath, has been campaigning with for this season. Heath, also a Subaru driver, will compete in car no 44 instead.

Rossi has always used number 46 whenever he competes, including the MotoGP series and Rally GB which he contested in 2002 in a Peugeot 206 WRC. Rossi has used this number throughout his career, despite the usual system where the reigning world champion assumes No 1 for the following season.

He says that he uses 46 because this was the number of a Japanese 'Wild Card' entry he saw in a race on television, who demonstrated incredible skill in a wet race. It was also the number Rossi's father used for the first three GP wins of his career.

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