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Duval: It was tough in Wales.

Francois Duval admitted that Wales Rally GB had been one of the more difficult events of his career as he took the stages for the first time since the accident that left regular co-driver Patrick Pivato seriously injured.

Pivato was hospitalised and put into an induced coma following the accident in Japan, with Ford team boss Malcolm Wilson admitted that he had 'feared the worst' in the days following the incident.

It led to question marks over whether or not Duval would take part in the final round of the World Rally Championship season, although the Belgian elected to compete when it became apparent that Pivato was out of danger – with the Frenchman now continuing his recovery back in Europe.

Teaming up with Denis Giraudet for the Welsh event in his Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Focus WRC, Duval was second quickest through the first stage on day one before a small off on SS3 knocked his confidence.

From that point on, he elected to play it steady and took sixth place on the penultimate stage when team-mate Henning Solberg went off the road and damaged his suspension.

Duval maintained that place through the final stage and he admitted that it had been important to come home in the points as he seeks to rebuild his confidence.

"We found this rally very hard and it was difficult to really get into a rhythm," Duval admitted. "We had a few spins on the first day and after the accident in Japan I didn't have confidence to be fully committed in the fast sections.

"The important thing for me here was to get to the end of the rally with no problems and pick up points for the team. The rally was difficult and finding grip was not easy, sometimes the road had ice and sometimes it was just wet but it always looked the same and was very hard to judge."


Related Pictures

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Francois Duval (B) Denis Giraudet (F) Ford Focus RS WRC 07, STOBART VK M-SPORT FORD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - 1st place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team, 2nd place Thierry Neuville (BEL)-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport and 3rd place Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP),Hyundai i2 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
21.05.2017 - Fabio Andolfi (ITA) Manuel Fenoli (ITA) HYUNDAI i20 R5, ACI TEAM ITALIA
21.05.2017 - HIROKI ARAI (JPN) - GLENN MACNEALL (AUS) FORD FIESTA R5, TOMMI MÄKINEN RACING
21.05.2017 - HIROKI ARAI (JPN) - GLENN MACNEALL (AUS) FORD FIESTA R5, TOMMI MÄKINEN RACING
21.05.2017 - TEEMU SUNINEN (FIN) - MIKKO MARKKULA (FIN) FORD FIESTA R5, M-SPORT WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - Pontus Tidemand (SWE)-Jonas Andersson (SWE) Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport
21.05.2017 - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)-Anders Jaeger (NOR) SKODA FABIA R5, SKODA MOTORSPORT
21.05.2017 - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)-Anders Jaeger (NOR) SKODA FABIA R5, SKODA MOTORSPORT
21.05.2017 - JEAN-MICHEL RAOUX (FRA) - THOMAS ESCARTEFIGUE (FRA) CITROEN DS3 WRC
21.05.2017 - Valeriy Gorban (UKR)-Sergei Larens (EST) BMW‐Mini John Cooper Works, Eurolamp World Rally Team
21.05.2017 - Martin Prokop (CZE) - Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, ONEBET JIPOCAR WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - Martin Prokop (CZE) - Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, ONEBET JIPOCAR WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - SHEIK KHALID AL QASSIMI (ARE) - CHRIS PATTERSON (GBR) CITROEN C3 WRC, CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT
21.05.2017 - SHEIK KHALID AL QASSIMI (ARE) - CHRIS PATTERSON (GBR) CITROEN C3 WRC, CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT
21.05.2017 - Mads Ostberg (NOR)-Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
21.05.2017 - Mads Ostberg (NOR)-Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
21.05.2017 - Essapeka Lappi (FIN) Janne Ferm (FIN), TOYOTA YARIS WRC, TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT

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