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WRC Portugal 2013: Novikov fourth after 'difficult weekend'
15 April 2013
Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team driver Evgeny Novikov took his best result of the season on Rally de Portugal last weekend, but still had mixed feelings at the finish.
The Russian ran in the points throughout the three-day event, the fourth round in the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship, and moved up to fourth, where he would eventually finish, in the opening test on Saturday after Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville both went out.
However, despite a very solid run, he was unable to show his customary speed. Indeed four fifth fastest times was as good as it got, much to his frustration, especially as he was unable to put his finger precisely on what was wrong.
“Fourth place is a very good result for us, but still I was not so happy with the times. It was a difficult weekend for us. I was pushing on the stages but for some reason the times just weren't where they needed to be," he said.
“This [fourth place] is definitely the maximum I could have achieved this weekend, so I am happy with that.
"Now we just need to make sure we work hard and come back stronger in Argentina.”
Meanwhile, Nasser Al-Attiyah led the way for the Qatar World Rally Team - effectively M-Sport's 'B' team - and he finished just one spot back, his second top-five result in succession.
“This is a fantastic result for us,” he reflected. “It was not an easy rally but I think we performed really well and, as always, the team did a great job with the car. Our times are continually improving.
“This car is totally new for me this year and we are still learning, so to see the times improve like this is really good.”