Duval gutted by retirement

Francois Duval could not hide his disappointment at missing out on a best-ever World Rally Championship finish after he retired from the Rallye de France with an engine problem. The retirement also meant that Citroen are crowned manufacturers' champions for a second consecutive year

Duval gutted by retirement

Duval had fought for the lead of the Tour de Corse with team-mate Markko Martin throughout the event and was on for at least a second place finish. But on the first stage of the final leg, SS9, the Belgian's Ford Focus ground to a halt.

"About one kilometre after the start the water temperature and oil warning lights came on," said Duval. "The car then dropped onto three cylinders and I knew at that point that my rally was over.

"We finally stopped after seven kilometres when there was a small fire under the bonnet, which we quickly put out. I'm incredibly disappointed."

Duval's retirement means that Martin is now way ahead of second-placed Sebastien Loeb who is cruising towards his first world title. All Martin has to do now is finish to secure his second victory of the season.

"It's looking good for us but we have to make sure we complete the job," said Martin. "It has been difficult to take things easier when I've spent two days driving flat-out. The last stage seemed like a slow Sunday morning drive in comparison to Friday and Saturday."

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