Five week's downtime is almost as long as the never-ending summer holidays that children used to enjoy before complaining they were bored, so perhaps it's no wonder that the drivers in the FIA World Rally Championship are also suffering from a little cabin fever and are keen to get back to work this weekend in Finland.

"It has been a good summer break," said Qatar M-Sport's Evgeny Novikov, who revealed that he'd been navigating for his manager Mikhail Lepekhov in the Russian Rally Cup to keep himself busy, which he described as having been a lot of fun. "But now I am ready to get back behind the wheel myself.

"Rally Finland is an event I really enjoy," he said, talking about arguably the most anticipated WRC event of the year. "There are always a lot of spectators and a lot of support for all the drivers. It's also a really challenging event, but I think that that's part of the enjoyment."

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Asked what the key to success in Finland was, Novikov didn't hesitate: it all came down to preparation, and lots of it.

"Knowledge of the stages is very important. The stages are extremely fast so you need to know how to enter the corners and how to use the exits," he insisted. "A good pacenote system and complete trust in your co-driver is also really important."

Although it's his first outing with co-driver Ilka Minor in Finland in the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Novikov said he wasn't concerned: "Although this will be my first Rally Finland with Ilka I have no worries about that! We work really well together and there is a lot of trust between us when we're in the car."

Qatar World Rally Team's Thierry Neuville will also be competing in the event and recently took part in an extended pre-event test with Novikov's team mate Mads Ostberg.

"We had a really good test last week - two full days working alongside Mads and the car feels great," said the Belgian, who will be partnered with compatriot Nicolas Gilsoul for the event. "We were able to really work as a team - sharing our thoughts and experiences - so I am really looking forward to this rally.

"It is always a special event. There are always a lot of spectators and a lot of WRC entries which makes for a good competition," Neuville added. "It's a very fast rally with the best jumps of the year. Depending on the weather, start position can be really important. The grip can be good running first on the road so it is important to have a good run in Qualifying with a car that is well set-up from the very beginning."

And in the WRC2 class, Welshman Elfyn Evans will be reunited with co-driver Daniel Barritt in M-Sport's latest Fiesta R5. Evans made a spectacular WRC d?but in June that saw him finish in an impressive sixth place, and he's hoping that the momentum will carry him through and allow him to make his mark in Finland this week despite the course typically favouring Scandinavian competitors on the whole.

"It's been a bit of a break since Portugal, but I can't wait to get back competing in WRC2 with the new car," said Evans. "There will be a lot of very quick Scandinavians looking for the win, but we'll try our best and see what happens. This is an event I really enjoy and we won here last year [competing as part of the FIA WRC Academy] so hopefully we won't be too far away.

"It's a very fast event, the fastest of the year in fact, and you need to have total confidence in yourself, your co-driver and your car," he added, echoing Novikov's advice. "To prepare we have been testing on similar roads in Estonia with Markko M?rtin and the MM-Motorsport team. Markko in particular was really helpful.

"He knows what it takes to win in Finland, so it was a great opportunity for me to get some advice from someone like him," he said.