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GP Week : Issue 4
41 WRC argentina >> PRODUCTION Car driver, 17 year-old Evgeny Novikov started Rally Argentina as the youngest driver ever registered for a world rally championship series. Russia’s latest rally legend started when father Maxim crashed his Porsche Turbo when driving back home from the airport. Evgeny realised that a high performance car was of little use without the skill to accompany his possession! The story goes that a lady safe-driving instructor introduced him to Alexei Vasiliev, a Russian rally champion, and from then on the die was cast. After starting in ‘Mini Buggy’ events when he was eight, Novikov took up karting two years later. In 2003, when he was 13, he started co-driving for his father on national events. Father Maxim entered the Gukovo Rally, in April 2006 but fell ill and could not start. On condition his new co-driver took the wheel on the road sections, 15 year-old Evgeny was allowed to drive the stages. He won the event and then went on to finish eighth in the national rally series that year. Evgeny turned 17 on September 19 2007 and an entry was made for the world championship Wales Rally GB, where he crashed after an impressive start. His entry in the 2008 PCWRC, in a state-of-the-art Subaru Impreza N14, is complicated by the fact that two host countries, Sweden and Finland, do not allow 17 year-olds to drive on the roads and will not honour a licence issued by a foreign country! Life in the sport’s fast lane this year still has to be fitted into his education programme, studying Economics in Moscow, but the roads to Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo airports are becoming well trodden and hopefully a little bit safer with Evgeny’s growing experience! Younger and Younger Novikov sets new Production Car World Rally Championship benchmark Fresh Meat: Young gun Evgeny Novikov samples some of the food in the pampas of Argentina