News in brief:
Novikov / Sohlberg / Auriol
A selection of stories that are making the news in the WRC:
No for Novikov: Evgeny Novikov has scrapped plans to return to WRC action at Rally Finland.
Wrc.com revealed earlier this month that the Russian would make a one-off appearance in an M-Sport-run Ford Fiesta RS at the eighth round of the season, which starts on 31 July.
However, Novikov has changed his mind and informed M-Sport that he will not enter. Uncertainty over testing opportunities and who would co-drive persuaded him it would be difficult to prepare fully for such a specialist event.
Ilka Minor, who co-drove for Novikov during a disappointing 2013 campaign, has already agreed to partner Henning Solberg at this year’s European rounds.
Yes for Sohlberg: Kristian Sohlberg will enter Rally Finland in a Ford Fiesta R5 prepared by British-based company Autotek.
The Finn returned to the WRC in February, after a six-year absence, when he tackled Rally Sweden. He retired with damaged steering after landing on a rock following a jump.
The 36-year-old former Mitsubishi driver will tackle Rally Estonia in July as a warm-up.
Classic Auriol: Former world champion Didier Auriol will compete in next month’s International Classic Rally of Otago in New Zealand.
The 1994 title winner will drive a Ford Escort RS1800 and will be co-driven by experienced fellow Frenchman Denis Giraudet. Among the opposition will be Hyundai WRC driver Hayden Paddon, who will also be Escort-mounted.
The rally, based at Dunedin in the South Island, is held on 9 - 11 May and features 15 stages covering 280km.