Duval For The Spa 24 Hours
Some of the additional entries for the Spa 24 Hours at the end of July are becoming known – and here’s another rally driver joining the sportscar / GT fray.

The Belgian ProSpeed Competition team has secured the services of World Rally Championship man Francois Duval, to drive one of the team’s two entries, a Porsche 996 Supercup car. He’ll share with Pascal Nelissen Grade, Christian Kelders and the man who masterminded the deal for Duval to join them, Christophe Kerkhove.

“I have always been interested in road racing,” commented Duval, “but because of my rally commitments with factory teams during the past few years, I just lacked the time it takes to properly prepare for such a race. This year, time was on my side and Spa veteran Christophe Kerkhove put together a deal with ProSpeed Competition, arguably one of the best Porsche teams in the country. I just can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the car during the Spa test day on July 5.”

Duval was a factory Citroen driver last year, but is undertaking a limited rally programme in 2006, with a privateer Skoda Fabia.

“It all came together quite unexpectedly,” said ProSpeed boss Rudy Penders, “but I think that the addition of François to our second car’s line-up will certainly add some strength in depth. One only has took look at what rally World Champion Sébastien Loeb achieved at last week’s Le Mans 24 Hours, finishing in second overall, to understand that professional drivers of this calibre are an asset to any team. And let’s not forget that Loeb and Duval were team mates in last year’s WRC, so you can say they are cut from the same cloth in more than one way.”

ProSpeed will have its two cars present at Zolder tomorrow (June 29), for the next round of the Belcar series – and again at Oschersleben in July.

“We have re-shelled the second car after Christian Kelder’s unfortunate accident in testing,” explains Penders, “so he and Pascal are back in an RS (this week). “Franz (Lamot) and I will of course go for a second class win, trying to make up for the points we lost by retiring from the first race.”

“It will not be an easy task to cope with everything, but let’s just keep our fingers crossed that nothing untoward happens at either venue,” continues Rudy Penders. “Should we have some major problems in practice or qualifying at the Zolder race, we’ll be in trouble for the race proper, as everything is run in just one day.

“The same will go for the race in Germany. To have a Belgian championship run a race a full day’s travel away from the workshops, literally just a few days before the biggest race in Belgium starts, is not the brightest plan I have come across recently. Fortunately we will only need to prep one of our Belcar Porsches for the 24 Hours, as we will enter our regular spare car as the second race car in Spa. Nevertheless, this summer will be a tough one, as four weeks after the Spa 24 Hours we will enter the Zolder 24 Hours, Belcar’s main race.”

 

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