Novikov crash: I was too fast
Russian admits driver error caused Rally GB roll
Evgeny Novikov admitted he was carrying too much speed into the corner where he rolled out of Wales Rally GB early in today’s (Saturday) third leg.
The Russian was in the thick of a fierce battle for fourth with Andreas Mikkelsen and Mads Ostberg. Just 1.2sec covered the trio when Novikov crashed his Ford Fiesta RS on a fast right bend 6km after the start of the 21.90km Dyfi stage.
“It happened at a very fast place,” said Novikov. “There was a long straight downhill and the car was on the rev limiter. We came to a crest and in my pace notes I had some distance after the crest to brake before the right hander.
“It was a fourth or fifth gear right corner, but there wasn’t enough distance to brake and we came into it too fast. I put the car sideways and tried to kill the speed as much as possible but we rolled.
“It wasn’t a big roll. The main impact was on the front of the car. I’m sure the roll cage is fine and there’s no damage on the side of the car or at the rear,” Novikov told wrc.com.
Although spectators were at the location, Novikov said there was no chance to get the Fiesta back on the track. “The car was too far off the road and it wasn’t possible to continue. All the wheels were in place and they weren’t broken but the main problem was that it was too far down,” he said.
The following Mads Ostberg and Thierry Neuville both slowed at the scene, but once they were reassured Novikov and co-driver Ilka Minor were not injured, they completed the test.
It was the first time Novikov had tackled the classic Dyfi test and his crash came just a week after a high-speed accident in the dark during testing near his Qatar M-Sport team’s base in north-west England.
It is not known whether Novikov will be able to restart tomorrow’s final leg under Rally 2 regulations until the car is returned to the Deeside service park and examined for damage.
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