Francois Duval had a fairytale return to the World Rally Championship on the Rallye Deutschland last weekend and after putting in a superb drive the Belgian secured the final place on the rostrum.

Duval, who hadn't competed in the WRC since the Rallye Monte Carlo back in January, ran strongly throughout on his second outing with the Stobart Ford team and from the off he was in P4.

While he did have a slight gearshift problem on the first loop on day 1 and took time to get the car set-up as he wanted, his confidence grew as the event went on and when Mikko Hirvonen picked up a puncture in the final stage on Saturday, suddenly he was on for third.

Going into Sunday's final leg just 3.9 seconds separated the two, but with four quickest times in succession, the ex-Citroen man made sure of his rostrum result - and he eventually took P3 by just over 10 seconds.

"It is a fantastic result for me, but it has been difficult all weekend. Having been out of the series for seven months it meant I had to find my way back. On the first and second day, the car was very difficult to drive," he reflected.

"It's great to come here though with very little testing and on new tyres and be able to finish on the podium. It was always going to be a big challenge to fight for a win as the other drivers have been competing all year and have been testing so the result feels very good.

"We have made improvements with the setup too and learnt about the tyres so there are many positives. The experience will help for the next two tarmac events we are doing."

Duval is now due to return for the asphalt events in Spain and France in October, although with Gigi Galli out injured following his big crash he may be back before for the Rally New Zealand.

Speaking pre-event, he also added that there is a chance he could do the Wales Rally GB in December too: "At the moment, the plan is that I will only be doing the tarmac rallies with my new sponsor," he explained. "But after Corsica, I will try to do the Rally GB as well, and then we will look at the situation [for next year]."


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