The Russian was less than 5km into the opening 23.54km Blankenheim test when his Ford Fiesta RS slid off the road and into some trees. The car was undamaged but despite the best efforts of Novikov and co-driver Ilka Minor, they could not regain the asphalt.
“I think I was pushing too much on these tyres because they were too cold,” said Novikov. “It was just the start of the stage and I made a mistake in the braking. I was too late braking and we went off the track. There was nobody who could help us to get out so we had to stop because we were stuck.”
The accident was the latest blow in what has been a disappointing season for 22-year-old Novikov. He finished fourth in both Portugal and Argentina but his year has been marked by a series of crashes.