Duval Takes Surprise Early Lead

Francois Duval has taken a surprise lead on the Rally Deutschland after Citroen dominated the morning's opening three stages.      

Duval Takes Surprise Early Lead

Duval won the third stage of the day to move into a 3.2-second lead over teammate and championship favourite Sebastien Loeb. It is the first time Duval has led a rally this season.

Duval has been let off the leash for this weekend's event by team boss Guy Frequelin after being told to be cautious on the last two rallies.

The Belgian was rested earlier this season after a series of crashes in his first events with the French manufacturer. But after conservative drives to seventh and eighth on the last two events, Duval has now been told he can push for victory this weekend on his favoured asphalt surface, synonymous with the German event.

Loeb won the first two stages of the day, however he lost more than six seconds on the first running through the 20.47-km stage through Schones Moselland 1 to end up behind Duval.

The Citroen pair are dominating the event, and the pair already have a lead of nearly half a minute back to their nearest rival, the Peugeot of Marcus Gronholm.

Gronholm, who won the last round in Finland to break Loeb's six rally winning streak, looks as if he will already have to settle for third, after being unable to get near the pace of the Citroen drivers.

Subaru's Petter Solberg ended the first three stages in fourth but is already more than a minute behind Duval, having lost time on the leaders after a brief off on SS1. The Norwegian suffered no major damage to his Impreza and was able to continue.

Ford works driver Roman Kresta had a strong showing on his return as one of the carmaker's nominated point scorers.

Ford nominated Mikko Hirvonen for his home event at the last round in Finland, but have reinstated the Czech driver for Rally Deutschland, and already got the edge on the team's lead driver Toni Gardemeister, who is 13.4 seconds behind his teammate in sixth.

Works Subaru driver Chris Atkinson had a nightmare start to the event, after suffering turbo boost problems on the first stage. Unable to repair the problem the Australian continued to lose time and dropped to 12th by the end of SS3, more than three and a half minutes down on leader Duval.

Results after SS3:

Pos Driver Make Time 1. Duval Citroen 35:19.7 2. Loeb Citroen + 3.2 3. Gronholm Peugeot + 30.3 4. Solberg Subaru + 1:14.2 5. Kresta Ford + 1:15.9 6. Gardemeister Ford + 1:29.3 7. Galli Mitsubishi + 1:30.3 8. Martin Peugeot + 1:31.4 9. Sola Ford + 1:43.0 10. Schwarz Skoda + 1:48.7 11. Sarrazin Subaru + 1:56.3 12. Rovanpera Mitsubishi + 2:03.8 13. Pons CitroÃ"n + 2:41.2 14. Kopecky Skoda +  3:00.9 15. Vojtech Peugeot + 3:27.6 16. Atkinson Subaru + 3:30.7 17. Sordo Citroen + 3:59.0 18. Meeke Citroen + 4:16.6 19. Wilks Suzuki + 4:25.9 20. Andersson Suzuki + 4:56.6 All Timing Unofficial 

shares
comments
Schwarz Announces Retirement
Previous article

Schwarz Announces Retirement

Next article

Loeb Leads as Citroen Dominate

Loeb Leads as Citroen Dominate
Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally Plus

Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally

OPINION: A source of national pride in Kenya, the Safari Rally is also a sporting, cultural and economic phenomenon. And as last weekend's World Rally Championship round reminded us, it's a key driver in establishing Africa’s place in world motorsport

WRC
Jun 29, 2022
How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally Plus

How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally

The Safari Rally acted as a brutal test of driver and car resolve as multiple retirements opened the path for a historic Toyota 1-2-3-4 triumph, headed by star Kalle Rovanpera. But keeping things clean was only half of the challenge, as a well-timed charge when conditions worsened allowed the Finn to take control

WRC
Jun 27, 2022
How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph Plus

How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph

The 2019 champion has been a bit-part player recently, but Ott Tanak ended a 15-month drought in fine style with a dominant win in Sardinia. On a weekend when championship leader Kalle Rovanpera struggled with cleaning the road, his Hyundai rival has made his belated arrival into the title race and given cause for those predicting a walkover from the Toyota star to pause

WRC
Jun 6, 2022
How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead Plus

How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead

Although the Rally Portugal entry list featured World Rally Championship royalty in Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier, victory was secured by rallying's rising star in Kalle Rovanpera. Here's the story of his 2022 hat-trick, as his key rivals faltered among the gravel and asphalt ahead of them

WRC
May 23, 2022
The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera Plus

The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera

Kalle Rovanpera’s 2022 World Rally Championship displays have been spectacular, with the Toyota driver benefitting from a secret weapon in his crew to win two of the opening three rallies. But while the former challenger to Sebastien Loeb won’t take credit for his fellow Finn's performances, a key bond has been formed which could prove key to Rovanpera’s title charge

WRC
Apr 29, 2022
How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals Plus

How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals

After a dominating Rally Croatia, a wrong tyre choice on the final day looked to have undone all Kalle Rovanpera's hard work and left him with a mountain to climb heading into the power stage. That he emerged the winner all the same has surely quelled any lingering doubts that the Finn is the man to beat in the 2022 WRC

WRC
Apr 25, 2022
How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021 Plus

How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021

It's fair to say 2021 was a year to forget for Pierre-Louis Loubet. A maiden full World Rally Championship season offered hope but soon turned into a nightmare that ended in hospital, after being hit by a car in a road traffic accident. Now handed a lifeline by M-Sport, the Frenchman is desperate to rebuild his career

WRC
Apr 20, 2022
Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect Plus

Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect

The drivers get the glare of attention, but it’s the mechanics who are key to the operation of any World Rally Championship car. Autosport donned a set of overalls and joined M-Sport on a Belgian national rally event to get an inside look into the trials and tribulations of a rally mechanic

WRC
Apr 17, 2022