Citroen's Francois Duval has set his sights high for the Rallye Deutschland this coming weekend, by confirming that he will be gunning for a podium finish.

Speaking prior to the event, the Belgian added that while it isn't his favourite event, having finished second last year - and seventh in 2003, he is hopeful he can again do well, although he believes he will stand a better chance if it is dry, as he has yet to drive the Xsara WRC in the wet on asphalt.

"The Rallye Deutschland is not my favourite. I prefer Corsica as asphalt rallies go. I liked the Sanremo Rally a lot too. That said, I feel comfortable in Germany. The stages are a little bit like what I came across in Belgium when I started competing," he noted.

"I would really like to finish on the podium. I did last year and that's a very nice recollection. Given the Xsara's potential, I think a podium is possible. A dry weekend would simplify things. When we did our Deutschland Rally testing, everything went very well but I didn't come across any rain. I therefore have very little experience of the car on wet asphalt. So if it does rain, I won't be as quick. I'm hoping for dry conditions - and a podium."

As for how things are progressing with his new co-driver, Sven Smeets, the Belgian added that they are now starting to really gel, following two events together in Argentina and Finland, which both yielded points' finishes.

"Given the high average speeds [in Finland last time out], Sven was worried that he wouldn't be able to keep up. But he did, apart from a few places where I asked him to correct the notes for certain bends once we had passed them. That was important. To finish the process of getting my confidence back, we couldn't afford to make any mistakes. And we didn't, although it is a rally on which it is easy to get it wrong. I believe our partnership has come of age," he concluded.

 

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