Representing his home country France, CRM driver Loic Duval took part in Round 6 of this season’s A1GP as the series visited the Taupo circuit in New Zealand over the January 19-21 weekend.

Using control chassis and engines (Lola Zytec 3.4 litre V8), and bespoke Cooper tyres, the ‘World Cup of Motorsport’, which began in 2005, features a two-race format comprising of a Sprint race (the grid determined by Saturday Qualifying) and a Feature, whose grid is decided by the Sprint race results.

Although it’s his first time participating in the series, the winner of two races in the 2006 All-Japan Formula Nippon championship was immediately on the pace, setting some lightning-quick times in his rookie test on the Friday.

Loic was resolute in his driving, attacking right from the first to the fourth sessions. His talented efforts were rewarded with second place behind Team Germany driver Nico Hulkenberg. The qualifying result was the best for Team France this season. Local man Jonny Reid (Team New Zealand) rounded out the top three.

Sunday, January 21st:
The 14-lap Sprint race started at 11:00, and determined the order for the afternoon’s Feature. Loic ran without too much risk, netting a comfortable 2nd place ahead of the main event.

The 50-lap Feature race saw Loic make a brilliant start, and a fierce battle with pole-sitter Hulkenberg (Team Germany) ensued. With few overtaking points, it wasn’t possible to get ahead, though Loic attacked resolutely and repeatedly.

In the end, Loic took 2nd place, standing on the podium for the second time that weekend, the best results for Team France this season. With these results, Team France stand second in the championship with 46 points, behind leaders Team Germany on 65.

Loic Duval:
“I made a good start in both the Sprint and Feature races, though it wasn’t possible to get past Team Germany here. I decided to concentrate on keeping second place as a result. However, this also was not easy. I had Jonny Reid breathing down my neck for most of the race so I really had to keep focused throughout the entire event.

I waited for the leader to make a mistake, but that opportunity never came. On lap 29, I got ahead for a bit, but resulted in finishing second. It was good to stand once again on the podium, and it was a good race, though very physical. I’m happy because the team has risen to second place overall, and I want to thank the crew who did such a great job.”

Jean-Paul Driot (team representative):
“Loic did a wonderful job to fight for pole in the preliminary round with the much more experienced Hulkenberg. It’s an incredible job for his first participation in the series. He drove splendidly in both races, showing huge natural talent to hold off Jonny Reid in the long Feature race. His two podiums are a fantastic result. I’m absolutely thrilled with his performance.”