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Novikov: I was going a little too quickly...

26 June 2009

Citroen Junior Team's Evgeny Novikov has admitted that it was his fault he crashed out of the Rally Poland on Friday.

Novikov had made a promising start to the eighth round in the 2009 World Rally Championship and was running fifth overall, when he went off the road in SS4, the 33.17 kilometre-run through Paprotki 1, which also claimed the scalp of Sebastien Loeb.

Novikov's moment though occurred near the end of the test, rather than at the start (where Loeb's day ended) and while the Russian did complete the stage, he was unable to go any further.

Novikov will now re-join the fold on Saturday under the SupeRally format, albeit way down in 28th place - more than 10 minutes off Mads Ostberg, who rounds out the top ten in his Adapta-run Subaru Impreza WRC.

"Three corners from the end of the stage, we went over a crest a little too quickly," Novikov recalled. "We went off the road and broke the suspension.

"Then we tried to fix the problem but it wasn't possible. So we will start again tomorrow under the SupeRally system."

Citroen Junior Team manager, Benoit Nogier meanwhile revealed that they think a wrong pace-note was the cause of Novikov's off.

"We think that Evgeny's mistake was the result of an incorrect pace note," Nogier confirmed. "This is not a rally where mistakes go unpunished. But at least he should be able to start again tomorrow thanks to the SupeRally."

Day 1 of the Rally Poland wasn't all bad for Citroen's 'B' team however. Indeed far from it as Sebastien Ogier and Conrad Rautenbach both ended up in the points in the sister C4 WRC's - finishing proceedings in sixth and eighth respectively.

"Sébastien and Conrad have had a very good day. Sébastien was straight on the pace and ends the day in sixth, just a few seconds off fourth," Nogier continued.

"Conrad is eighth and in a strong position to score points. Our Citroën C4 WRCs had no technical problems. The objective tomorrow is to do the same again, without having recourse to SupeRally."


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