Biography Francois Duval
Date of birth: 18th November 1980
Lives: Belgium
Marital status: Single
First world rally: 2001 Portugal

Although he only started rallying in 1999, Francois Duval is already regarded by many as a potential world rally star of the decade to come. After just two years tackling world championship rallies in both two and four–wheel drive cars, the Belgian was awarded a full championship programme for 2003 by BP–Ford World Rally Team at the tender age of 22.

In March 1999 he made his rally debut in Belgium’s Citroen Saxo Challenge, claiming a podium position on his very first outing. He went on to score four wins and a second place to clinch the championship title. As well as entering the Belgian Rally Championship in 2000, finishing third overall, Duval undertook 19 rallies and joined the Mitsubishi Marlboro Junior Team, driving a Group N Lancer rally car on three events – Luxembourg, Ypres and Condroz.

The following year was another busy one as Duval contested 17 rallies and whenever his cars were reliable he was both fast and well placed. With Mitsubishi he tackled Luxembourg again and then took part in three rounds of the world championship – Portugal, Cyprus and Australia, where he finished 19th overall and third in the Group N category.

However, the most significant part of his year was spent with Ford, competing in a Puma in the FIA Super 1600 series at six world rallies. His best result was second in the category on Italy’s Sanremo Rally while he also drove the Ford Rallye Sport–prepared Puma at events in Belgium and the UK, powering his way to a clear and convincing victory on the Rally of Kent.

The gifted young Belgian ace enjoyed another packed programme with Ford Rallye Sport in 2002, driving a Puma Super 1600 in the Junior and a Focus RS WRC in the main world championship. He won the opening round of the junior series in Monte Carlo but the rest of his two–wheel drive campaign was disappointing and he finished sixth in the championship. He tackled five rounds of the championship in a Focus and emphasised his potential by leading the Cyprus Rally on the opening morning. His best result was 10th place on the Swedish Rally.

Duval’s potential earned a full 14–rally programme for 2003 in the two–car BP–Ford Rallye Sport squad and he was quick to make the most if it, claiming his best result to date by taking third on the Rally of Turkey in March. 2004 continued in much the same fashion as the Belgium tackled all 16 rounds with the BP–Ford squad finishing the year an impressive sixth overall with five podium finishes. 2005 saw the Duval move closer to home as he tackled 14 rounds in a Citroen. This year however saw a moment of history in the career of Duval as he posted his first ever WRC win on the final long haul round in Australia. 2006 and 2007 were slender years competing on a total of just twelve events for the two years with his best result more recently on Rally Germany 2007.

This year Duval hops back to the Ford camp flying the flag high for the Stobart VK M–Sport Ford rally team. He will compete in a Ford Focus RS WRC07 on the historic roads of Rally Monte Carlo – the championship’s opening round.

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