Novikov joins Solberg, Räikkönen and Van Merksteijn Jr in Spain

Rally Spain is the only mixed event of the season, and it looks like being one of the highlights of the year for Citroën Racing Technologies. As was the case in Greece, four DS3 WRCs will be entrusted to four privateers because Petter Solberg, Kimi Räikkönen and Peter Van Merksteijn Jr will be joined by Evgeny Novikov. After having driven a C4 WRC for most of the 2009 season, the 21-year-old Russian hope will make his comeback in a WRC entered by the French manufacturer.”

“Five cars have been prepared in our workshops for this rally,” explains Benoit Nogier, the man in charge of theVersailles-Satory-based team.” In addition to the four race-prepared DS3 WRCs, a fifth was made available for atest session this week. Evgeny Novikov and Peter van Merksteijn Jr took advantage of it to do a day’s running toprepare for this atypical event.”

While Peter Van Merksteijn Jr. is now almost completely at home in the Citroën DS3 WRC after eight outings ongravel and tarmac, Evgeny Novikov has discovered a new environment. The Russian, who was a member of theCitroën Junior Team in 2009, took part in six rallies with another team. “Evgeny will be the first driver to haveraced in two of the new-generation World Rally Cars”, Nogier continues. “For him it’s an excellent opportunity tocompare them. In Spain he’ll be able to judge the Citroën DS3 WRC on gravel and on tarmac. Since ourcollaboration in 2009, we’ve always stayed in touch. We’re pleased to be working with him again and hope thatthis outing may lead to others.”

Petter Solberg (Petter Solberg World Rally Team), currently lying fifth in the World Rally Championship, has puton a series of high-quality performances before tackling the final run down to the wire. “In Australia, and above allin France, Petter showed that he had recaptured all his old flair. In Alsace he probably drove his best rally of theseason. In Spain, he will benefit from a better starting position than his main rivals. If he has a little bit moresuccess than usual he could be a real force to be reckoned with.”

Kimi Räikkönen (ICE1 Racing) racked up six consecutive top-10 finishes in the early part of the season, and theFinn is tackling Rally Spain full of ambition: “Kimi’s potential is increasing in leaps and bounds. In Rally France hecould have finished in the first five. By taking advantage of a good starting position on the first day, and with thespeed he’s already shown on dry tarmac he could achieve a very good result.”

Peter van Merksteijn Jr (Van Merksteijn Motorsport) is feeling more and more at home in the Citroën DS3 WRC,and he will have another opportunity to score points: “He can’t wait for the start. His times are getting closer andcloser to those of the best on both gravel and tarmac. Rally Spain will give him another opportunity to show howhe’s improved in terms of sheer performance and consistency.”

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