Despite his recent successes, including a podium result in Corsica at the weekend, Francois Duval has admitted that it is will be difficult for him to secure a full-time drive in the World Rally Championship next season.

Duval should have finished second on the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse, but he again obeyed team orders and sacrificed a position on the leaderboard in order to aid Mikko Hirvonen's and Ford's championship challenges - just like he did in Spain 7 days earlier.

While his performances on both those asphalt events were impressive though, he believes that a good result on the Rally Japan - when he will be back running under the Stobart Ford banner - could be crucial for 2009, especially as he needs to try and shake of the tag of being an asphalt specialist.

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"I'm not sure [this result will help for next year]. It's difficult for me to drive the full championship," he explained. "But if I stay inside the top four or five in Japan - it's good for me [as that will show what I can do on the loose].

"The rally is new for everybody, but as I don't drive much on gravel it's not going to be easy for me. I've only driven [on gravel] in New Zealand [this year], but I'll try my best."

As for his form in France, Duval added that it was a 'good' rally for him and that he was happy with the result - and his twelve top-three stage times.

"I made no mistakes and a podium is a great result. My role was to help the team and so it made perfect sense for me to help Mikko here," he added.

"This was a tough rally and I've had to work hard for third, but that's how I like it. The roads were narrow and difficult but those are the type of stages I enjoy."

For the record, while Duval may now be regarded as something of an asphalt specialist, it is not an entirely fair label. Indeed he has had some notable results on gravel, including winning the Rally Australia back in 2005 - to date his only win in the WRC.