Russian plans steady approach

M-SPORT Stobart Ford Rally Team driver Evgeny Novikov is banking on a level playing field in the Rally Australia event which starts this evening.

The Russian, who celebrates his 21st birthday later this month, has never competed in Australia before and said he is excited about the Coffs Harbour roads coming his way later this week.

"This time it will be a fairer rally for everyone as nobody will know the roads," Novikov said.

"I just want to get out there, enjoy myself, get more experience, and hope that a good result will follow."

The Fiesta RS WRC driver who is chasing his first points finish of the year, joins Briton Matthew Wilson in the M-Sport Stobart squad and said that he wouldn't be altering his policy of gaining experience in the 10th round of the world championship.

"This year my task has been just to finish and not anything more than that," he said.

"Australia will be a difficult rally as we've never been here before but we have to start first and then we'll see how it goes.

"The World Rally Championship has no easy stages and I am sure that Australia will be no different, but I think that we must concentrate on a good recce and only push when we feel confident that everything is going well."

Rally Australia will be Novikov's fifth start in this year's championship.

His best WRC result was fifth place on Rally Italia Sardegna in 2009 - a season during which he posted four fastest times in a private Citroen.

Novikov's teammate Wilson has enjoyed great consistency this season, having only failed to score points on one round of the 2011 series. Wilson was sixth last time out in Australia.

Topics:  coffs world rally championship 2011

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