Novikov’s regular partner Denis Giraudet suffered back injuries in a heavy landing on Friday morning’s first stage, which was aggravated when Novikov rolled their Ford Fiesta RS WRC on the next run, putting the pair out of contention for a strong result. Despite being injured, Giraudet bravely soldiered on to the finish in Jyvaskyla as Novikov slowed his pace.
Giraudet underwent surgery on Wednesday and has been ruled out of ADAC Rallye Deutschland later this month. Fellow Frenchman Nicolas Klinger, who at 36 is 20 years Giraudet’s junior, will replace him with Giraudet’s personal recommendation. Klinger worked as part of Novikov’s safety note crew on Rallye Monte-Carlo earlier this season.
“Unfortunately it was one jump we misjudged during recce and it destroyed my back and started to destroy our rally and then we roll,” said Giraudet. “It was not the perfect start but we tried to come back and we managed to finish with a lot of experience so we have to look at the bigger picture. It’s still positive.”
Novikov’s M-Sport team-mate Tanak (pictured) enjoyed a more successful trip to Finland from his native Estonia. “Sixth place was the maximum we could have achieved, so I am happy with that,” said the Ford Fiesta RS WRC driver afterwards.