Lo?c Duval may have competed in his final race of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport campaign, but he made sure he will leave a lasting legacy by signing off in style with a hard-fought podium finish in Durban.

The Frenchman had arrived at the challenging South African street circuit only just in time for Saturday morning practice, having flown in specially from Japan. Despite that, he was immediately on the pace, but myriad problems in qualifying consigned him to unrepresentative 17th and eighth positions on the starting grid for the two races - and left title-challengers les bleus in the doldrums.

Though the 25-year-old was unable to climb any higher than eleventh spot in the short sprint outing (he finished ninth on the road, but was classified two spots further down after the results were counted back a lap, thereby meaning he just missed out on the points), a committed drive, daring strategy and impeccable pit-work in the drama-struck feature event earned him second place. Indeed, had the race not been red-flagged early due to the collision caused by home star Adrian Zaugg, he may even have been able to challenge Switzerland's Neel Jani for the win.

"The weekend finished better than it started!" the Chartres-born ace acknowledged afterwards. "It was almost impossible to score points starting from 17th place in the sprint race, but it was a close-run thing.

"In the feature race I pushed hard all the way, and thanks to a perfect strategy we made it onto the podium. I'm leaving A1 Team France with the feeling that I've done my job, and I hope we will win the title at the end of the season - we deserve to!

"I'd like to express my gratitude to all the A1 Team France members and supporters, thanks to whom the 2007/08 adventure has been unique from both a sporting and human point-of-view."

Duval has now registered seven podium finishes - including victory in Australia - for his country over the course of the nation vs nation series' third season of competition, and thanks to his efforts the inaugural champions now lie in second spot in the title standings, just ten points behind long-time leaders Switzerland with three meetings still remaining.

"Our aim today was to limit the damage," underlined sporting director and former Monaco Grand Prix winner Olivier Panis, "and we did even better than that. We achieved a rostrum finish and we're still in second place in the championship. Our team did a really great job today.

"These two races were also Lo?c's last ones for us this year. We'd like to thank him for his contribution, and we hope to continue the series of good results which he started."

 

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