Formula E driver Loic Duval has scored his first ever podium in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters with a bold strategy at Zandvoort in the Netherlands bringing him home in third place behind race winner Marco Wittmann and team-mate Mike Rockenfeller.
Coming into the weekend as the only driver of the season to not score any points, Duval elected to run a long first stint which enabled him to lead the majority of the 55 minute race.
Once the Frenchman finally made his mandatory pit stop on lap 26, he found himself in third place ahead of Mattias Ekström, whose fourth place finish sees him take the championship lead away from one-time Formula E racer Rene Rast.
With the Faraday Future Dragon Racing Formula E driver believing he had dropped further back, the call from Audi Team Phoenix proved to be a surprise for the 35-year-old.
“It feels good, to be honest I’m super surprised because I didn’t check the position on the dash, I thought I was far away,” explained Duval. “Then they told me P3 and I said ‘Excuse me? Can you repeat that?’, so it’s a good surprise and I didn’t expect it at all.
“I had a bad start because of the clutch, but in the end the car performed pretty well and it’s good for the team with Rocky [Rockenfeller] also on the podium. It’s a big surprise but I’m really happy with that!”
With a prolonged opening stint always a gamble in DTM, the key to Duval’s maiden podium was tyre management as early saving meant the Frenchman was able to go all out in the closing stages of the race.
“I was really careful [with the tyres] at the beginning, I was saving them to do a long stint and at the end they worked properly, so I was able to push on my second stint.”
“Everything worked ok and at the end I didn’t see anyone on the track, but it’s a podium and I’m happy with it. We deserve it with the performance yesterday and this morning so it’s a nice reward for the team.”
Duval, who has competed in Formula E since Miami in season one, is not yet contracted to a race seat for season four but is understood to be a candidate for sister team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler.