Citroen number two driver, Francois Duval finally shone with the Xsara WRC Friday on the opening leg of the Rallye Deutschland.

The Belgian put in a highly impressive performance and even led the event heading into the mid-day service. Although he dropped back to second this afternoon, after clutch problems in SS4, he was the only one to get anywhere near his team-mate, Sebastien Loeb, and at the end of the day's six tests, is just 11.7 seconds adrift.

"I have found my natural pace," said Duval, hardly unable to stop smiling.

"I'm very happy. It's been a good day, although the clutch tended to engage a little sharply and I stalled at the start of SS4, then again in a hairpin on the same stage. That probably cost me about 8 seconds.

"Seb and I were in front here last year, and we are again this time round. But it's not by any means over.

"Tomorrow's stages over the military ranges are very different.

"To ward off a possible come-back by our rivals, we will need to continue at the same pace, without losing sight of the fact that the main thing is to score as many points as possible for Citroen."



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