Stobart team names Galli sub for NZ.

The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team has announced that Francois Duval has been chosen to replace the injured Gigi Galli for the Repco Rally New Zealand.

Duval will be entered in the 'second' car, with Matthew Wilson the other nominated point scoring driver, as Henning Solberg is already committed to making another 'guest' appearance for the Munchi's Ford World Rally Team.

Duval, who took a fantastic third place finish in Germany last weekend, what was his first outing in the WRC since the Rallye Monte Carlo back in January, was always the favourite to get the call as he was already down to do the other two remaining tarmac events in Spain and Corsica later this year.

Indeed while the Belgian is now regarded as a bit of an asphalt specialist, he has competed on gravel a number of times and demonstrated his ability to deliver on the loose most notably in Australia in 2005, when he took his one and only victory in the WRC.

The outing in NZ is also logical as it will allow him more time behind the wheel of his Focus RS WRC07.

"We will be very happy to have Francois back in the Stobart team for New Zealand," said Ford/M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson.

"He did a great job in Germany last weekend and as he is already confirmed to compete in Spain and Corsica, it will be a good opportunity for him to gain more valuable experience and time in the car."

Who will call the pace-notes for Duval meanwhile has still to be confirmed and while usually a team may only change one element of the entry – something that would mean Giovanni Bernacchini would have to act as co-driver, the Stobart team management are currently requesting special permission from the FIA to change both the driver and co-driver elements due to the obvious safety issue brought about by the language barrier. If this is confirmed then Patrick Pivato will join Duval for the eleventh round in the WRC.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Gigi Galli (ITA) Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA) Ford Focus RS WRC 07, Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team
Francois Duval (BEL) Patrick Pivato (BEL), Ford Focus RS WRC 07, Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team
Alexey Lukyanuk - Ford Fiesta R5
Alexey Lukyanuk - Ford Fiesta R5
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Pierre Louis Loubet (FRA) - Vincent Landais (FRA) Citroen DS3 R5
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Scott Pedder (AUS) Dale Moscatt (AUS), Skoda Fabia R5
Scott Pedder (AUS) Dale Moscatt (AUS), Skoda Fabia R5
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Essapeka Lappi (FIN) Janne Ferm (FIN), Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport
Quentin Gilbert  (FRA) - Renaud Jamoul (BEL) Citroen DS3 R5
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Grant - Unregistered

August 19, 2008 3:42 PM

Wilson Jr was already nominated. Personally I think Duval was the obvious choice - esp if Gronholm wouldn't do the event. Also while it would have been nice to see Meeke or Wilks in the car, the former doesn't have much WRC car experience and the latter is competing in Ireland this weekend in the BRC and so logistically he might not have had sufficient time to get to NZ.

Prodrive Pete - Unregistered

August 20, 2008 7:00 AM

As already mentioned, Duval is the obvious choice really. It should give him some good experience (If he doesn't roll it in the first 3 stages) and he might be able to challenge for the win in Spain and Corsica.

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