Evgeny Novikov admitted he was delighted to see the finish on his WRC debut with the Citroen Junior Team after the Russian teenager secured twelfth place on Rally Norway.
With Chris Atkinson having competed with the team on the season-opening Rally Ireland, the snow of Norway marked the 18-year-olds first taste of the C4 WRC in competition.
While his first outing in the car didn't come without problems, including a wrong suspension setting choice on the opening day and a gearbox issue on day two, Novikov was able to remain around the fringes of the top ten before returning to the finish in twelfth place.
"The Citroen C4 WRC is really competitive. I still need to learn a bit more about it but I find the braking and the power from the engine absolutely exceptional,” he said. “During the first three stages [of day three], I made a few small mistakes. In particular, I stalled in the first stage. Then we hit a snowbank and also we went straight on. It's all part of learning.
"It was vital for us to be at the end of this rally, on our debut in the Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC. Although we had a few problems, we can draw a positive conclusion from this first experience. The car is very competitive. We've learnt a lot and I can't wait to get to Cyprus now!"
Novikov was able to match team-mate Conrad Rautenbach for much of the event, although the South African saw his event end in disappointing fashion when he retired on the return to service.
However, Rautenbach insisted he wasn't too disappointed with the late DNF and said he was already looking forward to the next event on the calendar in Cyprus.
"We've enjoyed ourselves enormously this weekend,” he said. “The conditions were fantastic. At the end of this event, I feel more comfortable in the car and I'm keen to get to Cyprus now."