WRC

Rally Catalunya: Francois Duval preview

FRANCOIS DUVAL FIRED-UP BY SUCCESSFUL TEST FOR THE HIGH-SPEED ASPHALT OF CATALUNYA Francois Duval and co-driver Patrick Pivato head for this week's Rally de Espana Catalunya-Costa Daurada (March 23-26) with their confidence high after a...

FRANCOIS DUVAL FIRED-UP BY SUCCESSFUL TEST FOR THE HIGH-SPEED ASPHALT OF CATALUNYA

Francois Duval and co-driver Patrick Pivato head for this week's Rally de Espana Catalunya-Costa Daurada (March 23-26) with their confidence high after a successful two-day test with the First Motorsport Skoda Team.

The 25-year old Belgian completed a two-day test near Vic and declared that his Skoda Fabia WRC is much improved from the car he drove for the first time in January's Monte Carlo Rally.

Duval said: "For Monte Carlo we were not able to have the car to the correct set up and had to use blocked active differentials. Now we have the 2006 specification mechanical diffs and the Fabia has been transformed. We had a really good test, about 200kms, and it now handles much better. We have good balance and it is much easier to drive although we still have some work to do on the braking. In Monte Carlo I ran as high as fifth and set a fastest time but I then made a mistake and left the road so I need to make sure that I avoid any similar mistakes in Spain and hopefully we can get our first result of the year."

RALLY DE ESPANA IN DETAIL:

Rally de Espana is the fourth round of the 2006 World Rally Championship and the first true asphalt rally of the season. After a ceremonial start on the seafront of Salou on Thursday evening (March 23) the action turns to a familiar route in the Tarragona region with only two new stages being added to those used last year. Once again there is a single service area at the PortAventura theme park in the heart of Salou. Friday's six-stage opening leg is the longest of the rally at 137.25kms. Saturday's further six stages include two runs through the longest stage of the event, Vilaplana (28.33kms) while just four long stages on Sunday conclude the event with a finish time of 1456.

-www.firstmotorsport.com

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