by Rob Wilkins

TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH FRANCOIS DUVAL: CLICK HERE

Francois Duval was the star of the recent Rallye Deutschland, securing the runners-up spot on the final day after a truly fantastic performance in his OMV Kronos-run Citroen Xsara WRC.

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Crash.net Radio caught up with the Belgian recently to chat to him about that event and to find out if he is going to be able to do any more events during the remainder of the season...

Crash.net:
Francois, I guess you must still be on a high following that drive in Germany, which was just outstanding. How pleased were you with your performance there?

Francois Duval:
Yes I am very happy. It as was a really good performance for me. I hope I can do the rallies in Spain, Corsica and the RAC [Rally GB] now, but that is dependent on getting the budget.

Crash.net:
Obviously it was only your second WRC event of the season - and your first with the Citroen Xsara WRC, since 2005. How difficult did that make things?

FD:
The Xsara is a really good car. We had the active differentials and we had no problems at all. I stalled the engine once, but during the rest of the event we had no issues. It is a nice car.

Crash.net:
What did you make of the OMV Kronos Citroen team and your team-mate, Manfred Stohl?

FD:
It is a good team. I am very happy with Manfred - he is a really nice guy. Everything was OK.

Crash.net:
On the final day you were quickest in every single test and seemingly pressurised Marcus Gronholm into a mistake. It was a very strong end to the event for you...

FD:
It was a good final day. On the last day I went really quickly. I managed to put some pressure on Marcus for Sebastien and he gained some extra points [as a result to close the gap a bit more in the drivers' championship]. The result was really nice for me, for Citroen and for Seb.

Crash.net:
Did you have any problems with the cow on the last stage, like Marcus and Petter Solberg?

FD:
No, I drove all of the last stage flat-out. I didn't have the splits to Marcus - no information on him - and I pushed all the way to the finish.

Crash.net:
Was it tough to get back in the Xsara after such a long break from it?

FD:
No, the confidence came back quickly.

Crash.net:
How important was it to put in a good drive in Germany?

FD:
I like this event. It is my favourite event.

Crash.net:
Did you feel under a lot of pressure to deliver though?

FD:
No, there was no pressure at all because I was driving for a private team.

Crash.net:
You said at the start of this interview and in the post-event press conference that you now hope to do Spain, France and Rally GB with Kronos. Can you give us any more information?

FD:
No, there isn't any more information at the moment - but if we do secure the budget then I will drive with Citroen and the Kronos team again.

Crash.net:
Are you going to get in any tests prior to those outings, if they go ahead?

FD:
No - no tests for the moment.

Crash.net:
Final two questions: assuming you can do those three events - what is the target, because obviously your performance in Germany means expectations will now be very high?

FD:
I will have the same target. If possible I will stay on the road and if finish in the top five it will be really good. Of course in Catalunya and Corsica the roads are really fast and if it is dry, I hope the cars performance will be really good, the same as it was on the Rallye Deutschland. But it will be more difficult in Corsica because my car is older and the C4 and the new Focus are the latest evolutions.

Crash.net:
Will it be possible to win in Spain or France - because without those problems on day 2 in Germany it could have been very possible there couldn't it?

FD:
If it rains it is possible [I could win] - but if it is completely dry it will be too difficult.

TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH FRANCOIS DUVAL: CLICK HERE