Audi Sport

Loic Duval to make full-time WEC return with TDS Racing

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Former Audi LMP1 driver and 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Loic Duval will make his full-time return to the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018-19 ‘super season’ with LMP2 team TDS Racing.

Duval, 35, was part of Audi’s LMP1 line-up from 2012 until its closure at the end of the 2016 season, taking victory at Le Mans in 2013 en route to the WEC drivers’ title alongside Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen.

Duval did not return to the WEC full-time in 2016, making a one-off appearance at the season finale in Bahrain with the TDS-run G-Drive Racing team, finishing seventh in class.

TDS Racing confirmed it will race in the WEC’s LMP2 class through the 13-month ‘super season’, starting next May with the 6 Hours of Spa, and named Duval in its line-up alongside the returning Francois Perrodo and Mathieu Vaxiviere.

“I am very happy to come back to WEC and to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, alongside my Audi program, and more over I am very excited about the environment in which I will complete this,” Duval said.

“It’s a professional race team, but also a family amongst which I know that we will have fun. I would like to thank François and Matthieu for this great opportunity.

“I can’t wait to fight and compete in the LMP2 category which we have seen to be ultra competitive and I look forward to achieving our goals.”

Duval remains part of Audi’s factory driver line-up, having raced in DTM throughout 2017, and is expected to retain his drive for next season alongside his WEC commitments.

Donny Schatz edges Kyle Larson for Outlaws victory at Lake Ozark

Trent Gower/World of Outlaws
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Donny Schatz made a last-lap pass on Kyle Larson, snatching a World of Outlaws victory Saturday night at Lake Ozark Speedway.

Larson started on the pole, led 30 of 35 laps and was in control until a caution set up a two-lap shootout to the finish before a limited crowd in Eldon, Missouri.

Schatz and Larson traded the lead twice over the final two laps, but the 10-time champion emerged with his first victory since the NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series returned in mid-May from a two-month layoff because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

‘THEY’VE STUCK BEHIND ME’: Kyle Larson comments on future, Outlaws plans

“Man, I don’t know what to say, but Kyle’s a damn good racer,” Schatz, who led five laps, told DirtVision after his 296th Outlaws win. “I kind of had to go where he didn’t. We got that green-white-checkered, and I decided I was going to send it. He decided the same thing.

Donny Schatz celebrates at Lake Ozark Speedway after his second Outlaws Sprint Car victory of the season (Trent Gower).

“I’m glad to get the win. It feels like it’s been forever. I’ve been out here 24 years, and every night is a learning experience still.”

Larson finished second in his fifth start since he began racing with the Outlaws after being suspended from NASCAR.

“Obviously, it would have been nice to get the win,” Larson said on DirtVision. “I figured Donny would rip the middle. The restarts before, he’d almost clear me in (turns) 3 and 4. I should have known to protect and block his momentum. I felt I exited 2 OK. We don’t have spotters or rearview mirrors so you can’t see how close he is or really hear it when the pace is so slow.

“I just didn’t do a good enough job to run a smarter final couple of laps.”

Brad Sweet, Larson’s brother in law, finished third, with Shane Stewart and David Gravel rounding out the top five.

Larson rebounded from a 10th in Friday’s feature at Lake Ozark Speedway, continuing his streak of top-10 finishes in all five of his starts since the Outlaws’ return.

“We got our car a lot better from last night, so that was a plus,” said Larson, who finished second and first in back-to-back nights last week at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at Pevely, Missouri. “These guys are really tough. To be on the podium with Donny and Brad, they’ve won lots of big races and championships, it’s nice. I just didn’t do what I needed to do that last restart.”

Larson nearly had a flawless night Saturday, turning a 11.426-second lap to capture his second pole position this season and won the pole dash to start first in the feature.

Larson, who was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing from his NASCAR Cup Series ride last month for using a racial slur in an iRacing event, said last week that he plans to run several more NOS Energy Sprint Car Series races this year.

Larson remains indefinitely suspended by NASCAR but was approved to race by the Outlaws after completing sensitivity training.