- Qatar M-Sport’s Evgeny Novikov narrowly missed out on a podium at Rally Argentina. After three days of tough competition, the Russian emerged in fourth place overall – his best result from the event and equalling a season-best finish in this year’s FIA World Rally Championship.
Elsewhere, bringing their Fiesta RS WRC home in fifth place, Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul equalled their best result from the Argentine event. Despite struggling to find the optimum set-up through the event’s final tests, their clever approach paid dividends as the Belgians kept their noses clean, all the while gaining more vital knowledge of the car and stages.
Having been forced to Rally 2 after damaging the suspension of their Fiesta RS WRC on Day 2, Mads Østberg and co-driver Jonas Andersson set a sensational pace on the final day – ascending the leader board from 11th to seventh in the overall standings.
Team principal Malcolm Wilson said: ““We have seen some impressive drives from our young crews this weekend with both Mads [Østberg] and Evgeny [Novikov] capable of challenging for the podium. Mads has also now taken a fastest time from all of the events this season.
“I think that we have seen a positive step in terms of all three drivers’ development this weekend and I have no doubt that their time will come.
“The [Ford] Fiesta RS WRCs have also performed faultlessly all weekend. We’ve had 100 per cent reliability on an event which is extremely hard on the cars, so that is also a big positive for the team.”
Result: (1) S.Loeb – Citroen, (2) S.Ogier – VW, (3) J.M.Latvala (VW), (4) E.Novikov – Ford, (5) T.Neuville – Ford, (6) M.Hirvonen – Citroen, (7) M.Østberg – Ford, (8) A.Mikkelsen – VW, (9) D.Sordo – Citroen, (10) M.Prokop - Ford