Neuville, from Belgium, and Russian Novikov will contest all 13 rounds of next year’s series in a pair of Ford Fiesta RS WRCs. They will partner Norway’s Mads Ostberg, the team’s other ever-present driver, with Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah tackling seven rounds.
While Novikov has been an M-Sport driver since 2011, Neuville (pictured) switches from the rival Citroen team, where he represented the make’s Junior Team and Qatar-backed efforts in 2012.
“Both Evgeny and Thierry were strong candidates since negotiations began,” said M-Sport head Malcolm Wilson. “They are young, but they have both shown some real maturity this year, combining obvious speed with a determination to finish all of the events and gain as much knowledge of the stages as possible. Both have regularly challenged the factory drivers, and their 2012 results were thoroughly deserved. I am confident that both drivers have more to prove and that we will see more impressive performances from them in 2013.”
Wilson added: “We have a young team for next year, but this by no means detracts from their ability to produce some strong results. All of them, Mads, Evgeny and Thierry, proved their worth in 2012 and, with guidance from Nasser, they can all be fantastic ambassadors for Qatar, M-Sport and the WRC.”