The WRC Rallye Monte-Carlo 2012 was something of a revelation for Ford and their WRC campaign. In this tricky and techhnical test, Ford’s crews were not only on the podium, but were setting the pace…
Speed in rallying is a must for success. Controlled speed is the secret: there are times to throw caution to the wind, and times to know when to lift off for that half a second longer. Ask Petter Solberg (Ford World Rally Team) about speeding, seeing as he collects speeding tickets. As on the opening round of the WRC in 2011 in Sweden, Solberg was pulled over by the traffic police for doing 106km/h in a 50km/h zone. The Gendarmes were quick to penalise the 2003 World Rally Champion, and the result is that the Norwegian was handed a suspended six-event ban and a €1,400 fine.
Of course, this did not deter the ace from sweeping to a strong podium position in Monte Carlo, nor will it slow him down in stages. Fans will need to assist Solberg in curbing his enthusiam between stages, however.
His counterpart in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC machine, Evgeny Novikov, also displayed the same speed and aggression at Round One of the 13-event series, but he was able to contain his speed for the timed sections…
Novikov finished the WRC event fifth overall, his first finish on this unique and iconic rally. To boot, he scored a bonus point for his Power Stage effort.
Little is known about the diminutive Russian, but his video clip from the 2009 WRC Rally Finland nearly flipping his car over a jump recorded hundreds of views.
Novikov had just turned 17 when he made his name in rallying, in a Subaru Impreza on the 2008 Russia Rally, competing against the Intercontinental Rally Challenge’s (IRC) stars.
Now at 21, he’s completed 24 WRC starts. With the experienced Frenchman Denis Giraudet his co-driver, Novikov seems to have turned a new leaf in his mature approach to the sport: “I learnt so much during the week. The stages were very varied and difficult to learn, but there were really fantastic. And the atmosphere in the Col du Turini and Lucéram tests was amazing!”