Francois Duval

Francois Duval

Belgium (B)

CAREER PROFILE

1999: Started rallying with Citroen Saxo

2000: Drives Toyota and Mitsubishi

2001: His WRC debut in Portugal. Drives Ford and Mitsubishi

2002: Drives Ford

2003: Full WRC programme with Ford, 3rd in Turkey and Corsica, 9th WRC for Drivers

2004: Drives Ford, 2nd in Mexico and Germany, 6th WRC for Drivers

2005: Move to Citroen, 1st WRC win in Australia, 6th WRC for Drivers

 

 

 

 

Date of Birth:
18/11/1980 at Chimay

Marital status:
Single

Hobbies:
biking, jet-skiing

World Drivers' Champion:
Not yet

Entries of WRC Events


At only 24 years of age, Belgium’s Francois Duval is widely regarded as one of rallying’s top new generation drivers, despite having started his first rally little more than six years ago.

As a very small child, Francois Duval watched his father Rene competing at numerous rallies and later shared his familyīs joy when Rene won the Belgian national rallysprint championship driving a Toyota Celica. 

At the family home, he began riding a 50cc quad-bike at the age of six. He rapidly progressed to karting and as an adolenscent competed in both the Belgian and European championships, while maintaining his interest in competitive quad-bike racing to great effect. He won the Belgian Championship for a small-capacity quads in 1995 and for large-engine quads in 1997 and 1998. 

In March 1999 he made his rallying debut in Belgiumīs 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 Championship in 2000, finishing third overall, he undertook 19 rallies and joined the Marlboro Junior Team, driving a Group N Mitsubishi 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.

For the season 2002 Ford signed Duval to drive in a total of 11 rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship. He tackled all six rounds of the FIA Super 1600 category, widely regarded as the junior world championship, in a Ford Puma. 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 full series in a four-wheel drive Focus RS WRC and emphasised his potential by leading the Rally of  Cyprus on the opening morning after the second stage. His best result was 10th place on the Swedish Rally. 

In 2003 Duval competed on all 14 World Rally Championship rallies as a second Fordīs works driver.  Already in Turkey, when Duval was twenty-two-year-old, he became the youngest driver ever to claim a podium position in the history of the FIA World Rally Championship. In Corsica he repeated the result and 9th place in the Championship showed that he is ready to fight top places in the series. 

In 2004 he continued with Ford driving again a second works Focus. He scored a best result of second in Mexico and Germany and took sixth place in the Championship. After his first two complete seasons at World Rally Championship level, his record already featured seven podium finishes. 

For the season 2005 Ford attempted to re-sign Duval with a four year contract, but he signed a one year contract with Citroen despite the fact that Citroen had announced that they would be pulling out of the world championship at the end of 2005. The young Belgian partnered World Champion Sebastien Loeb and replaced Carlos Sainz in Citoen's WRC campaign. The whole year was all but easy for Duval. He spent much of the year overshadowed by his team-mate, and was sidelined by Citroen after several rally-ending crashes while in points-scoring positions. After two events break he came back and took second places in Germany, Great Britain and Spain. On the last rally of the season in Australia he was able to take his first victory of his World Rally Championship career, he first Belgian to ever win a round of the World Rally Championship. His maiden win secured also the sixth place in the drivers' championship. Now he is also the third youngest driver ever to win a round of the WRC. His first win came at a crucial time as he's looking for a drive for next season in the wake of Citroen's withdrawal from the series for a sabbatical.

He is still studying rallying, but is already now on itīs highest level. Time is definitely on Duval’s side. He looks to have a glittering coming years and is really aiming his first ever WRC title.

Back to Drivers entries