A1 Team France proved they have strength in depth after Loic Duval gave bosses a glimpse of his potential with two second place finishes in Taupo, the nation's best points haul of the season to lift them into second in the championship standings.

Never at any time looking out of depth against more experienced competition, Duval was impressive throughout his maiden race weekend at the wheel of an A1 GP car, proving a front runner in practice, qualifying on the front row and securing two second place finishes, a feat even reigning champion predecessor Nicolas Lapierre has failed to do this season.

Indeed, while Duval was arguably not the quickest driver on the circuit come race day, he nonetheless improved his chances of further outings this season with a masterful display of defensive driving instead.

"I had a good start but again could not overtake Germany," Duval said referring to the feature race. "It is easy to crash in the first corner, so I was careful. After three laps he was too far away to be caught. I stopped shortly after him for our pit stop and maintained a strong second position in the race.

"With 33 laps to go New Zealand's Jonny Reid started catching me on the narrow track and was trying to get me to make a mistake, but I resisted his pressure. I was hoping that he would get distracted as Switzerland and Netherlands closed in on him.

"I was determined to finish well despite the pressure, saw that Reid made a couple of mistakes and continued my race to keep fighting for my second position in this tough feature race."

Although it is not clear whether Duval will be on hand to race for France at Eastern Creek in two weeks time, team principal Jean-Paul Driot admitted he was very impressed by the Formula Nippon regular.

"Loic Duval drove two great races for team France today. To finish second in the sprint race was the right thing to do to keep the front row for the start of the feature race. In the feature race, Loic showed his qualities as a fighter resisting to Reid's efforts. These two podiums are a brilliant result for the day. I'm very happy for Loic and for the team."

 

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