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Vergne to Sub for Duval at Fuji

DTM clash forces Loic Duval out of Fuji; Jean-Eric Vergne steps in at TDS…

Photo: TDS Racing

Jean-Eric Vergne will join TDS Racing’s FIA World Endurance Championship driver lineup at Fuji in place of Loic Duval.

Vergne, the reigning ABB FIA Formula E champion and current European Le Mans Series points leader, will co-drive the LMP2-class No. 28 Oreca 07 Gibson with Francois Perrodo and Matthieu Vaxiviere.

Duval is unable to make the trip to Japan on the weekend of Oct. 13-14 because of clashing factory commitments with Audi in the DTM finale at Hockenheim.

The 2013 Le Mans winner has already faced two scheduling conflicts this year between the WEC and DTM, first at the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in May and then at Le Mans test day.

Duval overcame the first clash because the DTM opener at Hockenheim was in close proximity to Spa, but he was unable to reach the test day since that weekend’s DTM round took place further away in Hungary.

He is expected to return to the team for the Six Hours of Shanghai in November.

Vergne, meanwhile, is well-known to the Xavier Combet-led operation as part of its ELMS driver lineup in the No. 26 G-Drive backed Oreca.

The Frenchman has helped place the team on top of the LMP2 standings with co-drivers Andrea Pizzitola and Roman Rusinov after victories at Monza, the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone.

Round four of the WEC at Fuji will mark Vergne’s third appearance in a world championship race this season, having driven the G-Drive car at Spa, which the team won, and at Le Mans.

BMW’s Augusto Farfus is the only other full-time DTM competitor whose role clashes with the first flyaway race of the WEC ‘Super Season’.

Farfus will be replaced Tom Blomqvist, who assumed the Brazilian’s seat in the No. 82 BMW M8 GTE alongside Antonio Felix da Costa for the Spa clash.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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