Despite his youth, Novikov has crammed in a lot of rallying. He made his driving debut on a rally in his native Russia when he was just 15. By that time he was already an experienced competitor having co-driven for his father from the age of 13.
Novikov answered the wrc.com questionnaire to give us an insight into his rally life and to issue a subtle warning against sending him rubbish birthday presents.
Q: What do you do in the last 30 seconds before you start a stage?
EN: “I wait until there’s 15 seconds to go, switch the car to stage mode, select first gear, and then enable launch control. When the clock hits zero, I release the handbrake and we’re off.”
Q: Apart from your co-driver, who is the most important member of your team and why?
EN: “Everyone in the team is important, but I’d struggle to name anyone more important than my co-driver Ilka Minor! She keeps me right no matter where we are.”
Q: Are you superstitious? If so, do you carry anything lucky in your car?
EN: “I don't have any superstitions. I believe that it takes away from your self-confidence and I believe only in my own abilities.”
Q: What is your favourite stage in the WRC and why?
EN: “I can’t name any particular stages, but I like rally Monte Carlo and Greece. I think it’s the challenge that I enjoy.”
Q: What is the most difficult stage in the WRC and why?
EN: “The stages in Monte Carlo are really difficult – especially if you have weather like we did this year! Only in Monte you can drive on snow, ice and dry Tarmac on a single stage. It’s a real challenge, but I like that.”
Q: What has been the best moment of your WRC career so far?
EN: “It was rally Portugal last year. I secured my first WRC podium and became the first Russian and, I believe, the youngest ever driver to do so. That was a very nice moment for me.”
Q: What has been the most frightening moment of your career so far?
EN: “My crash in Mexico in 2012 – I wouldn't say that it was frightening, but it was unpleasant for sure.”
Q: What is your all time number one pop song and why?
EN: “I don't like the phrase ‘all time’, as everything changes with time and with my mood. But at the moment I'm listening to Eminem’s ‘The Show’ album.”
Q: What was the best birthday present you have ever received?
EN: “My friend gave me a Rolex watch once. That was a pretty good present, and it was really unexpected which made it even better.”
Q: What would you do if you weren’t a World Rally Championship driver?
EN: “I sure I would earn a living one way or another.”