Evgeny Novikov enjoyed his best weekend to date in the World Rally Championship in Sardinia after picking his first points finish with a solid run to fifth place.
In only his fourth ever event in a WRC car, the teenager produced an impressive display to stay out of trouble on the challenging Mediterranean stages and take his maiden top eight finish in WRC competition.
“It was an extremely difficult rally, but our Citroen C4 WRC was perfect all weekend and we made no mistakes,” he said. “Fifth place in an excellent result for us and I'm really happy. From now on, I want to improve!”
Novikov was also awarded the Abu Dhabi Spirit of the Rally award following the event for his performance.
Sardinia turned out to be a challenging event for team-mates Sebastien Ogier and Conrad Rautenbach, with both drivers running into problems throughout the weekend.
Ogier retired from both leg one and leg two, while Rautenbach was forced to retire from day two before restarting on day three under SupeRally. However the Zimbabwean's car failed to leave service for the finish due to an electrical problem.
While there as disappointment for two of the drivers, Novikov's result drew praise from team boss Benoit Nogier, who was happy to have more points on the board.
“Whenever one of our C4 WRCs gets to the end of a rally with no particular problems, we are inevitably well-placed,” he said. “It's one of the clear signs of the team's potential and it underlines the fact that the Citroen Junior Team is very capable of finishing in the top five of any World Rally Championship event.
“Evgeny clearly showed this over the weekend, and I'm sure that he wasn't over-reaching himself. Everything worked perfectly, and there were no dramas. Evgeny's strong finish has boosted the morale of everyone in the team, but we need to keep working hard in order to achieve this type of result consistently.”