Evgeny Novikov and Thierry Neuville will compete with the Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team in 2013, it has been confirmed.
The announcement was made late today with confirmation the pair will both take in all 13 rounds of the 2013 World Rally Championship at the wheel of the Ford Fiesta RS WRC car, alongside team leader, Mads Ostberg and Nasser Al-Attiyah, who will do seven WRC events around his other motorsport commitments.
Novikov competed with the M-Sport Ford WRT in 2012 - effectively Ford's 'B' team, finishing sixth in the drivers' championship and notching up two podiums, in the process becoming the youngest ever driver to stand on a WRC podium at just 21 years old.
Neuville meanwhile was with the Citroen Junior WRT and also did well claiming a career-best result in France when he finished fourth. In addition he took 11 stages wins and was seventh in the standings.
“Both Evgeny and Thierry were strong candidates since negotiations began. They are young, but they have both shown some real maturity this year – combining obvious speed with a determination to finish all of the events and gain as much knowledge of the stages as possible,” said M-Sport managing director, Malcolm Wilson.
“Both have regularly challenged the factory drivers, and their 2012 results were thoroughly deserved. I am confident that both drivers have more to prove and that we will see more impressive performances from them in 2013.
“We have a young team for next year, but this by no means detracts from their ability to produce some strong results.
“All of them, Mads, Evgeny and Thierry, proved their worth in 2012 and, with guidance from Nasser, they can all be fantastic ambassadors for Qatar, M-Sport and the WRC.”