Duval targets Le Mans return after 2017 absence

Former Le Mans 24 Hours winner Loic Duval is aiming to return to the French classic next year, having been forced to miss this season's running owing to a DTM clash.

Duval targets Le Mans return after 2017 absence
#26 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07-Gibson: Roman Rusinov, Leo Roussel, Loic Duval
LMP1 podium: third place #8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis
#8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis
#26 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07-Gibson: Roman Rusinov, Leo Roussel, Loic Duval
Kazuki Nakajima, Team Tom's with Loic Duval, Audi Sport Team Phoenix
Loic Duval, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM
Loic Duval, Audi Sport Team Phoenix
Loic Duval, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM
Podium: Loic Duval, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM

The Audi driver, who moved to the DTM for 2017 after the end of the German manufacturer's LMP1 programme, revealed that he is exploring his options for a La Sarthe comeback in the expectation that there will be no date clash with the German touring car series.

"If I have a good opportunity to go back, I would love to do it again," the 2013 Le Mans winner with Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish told Motorsport.com.

"I had an offer this year, but it was not possible to do it because of the clash [with the DTM Hungaroring round]."

Duval, who made his WEC return in Bahrain with the G-Drive LMP2 squad, explained that he was undecided between trying to find a seat with a privateer in LMP1 or a top drive with a class contender.  

"Do I want to drive a car that only has a chance of winning if the others hit problems or a car that is capable of winning its class?" said the Frenchman, who has raced at Le Mans eight times. 

"That is a question I haven't answered in my mind yet."

No danger of being dropped by Audi

Duval endured a tough first DTM season this year, finishing last in the championship, though he took the runner-up spot in the second race at Zandvoort in August.

While there has not yet been official confirmation, the Frenchman, who raced for the Phoenix squad, is adamant he will be retained by Audi for 2018 despite his poor results.

“Yeah, for sure I will do [DTM next year],” he said. “They [Audi] know how DTM is.

“If you look at where my teammate [Mike Rockenfeller] was in the championship last year , he was [practically] last. This year he was P4.

“There are a lot of examples, Edoardo Mortara won in Macau [in the FIA GT World Cup] but had a terrible season in DTM.

“Maybe people on the outside don’t see it, but we know how it is.

“For sure we’ll try to do better because the target is not to be at the back of the grid, it’s to be at the front and I’m sure next season will be better.”

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