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After a rally that confirmed the potential already seen in their first three outings with the Citroën Junior Team, Evgeny Novikov and Dale Moscatt finished in fifth place on the Rally d’Italia – Sardegna, round six of the 2009 FIA World Rally Championship.

The Rally d’Italia – Sardegna ended with the shortest of the three days that made up the Olbia-based event. With a total of five special stages and 86 competitive kilometres, caution was the watchword for all the drivers today after what has been an extremely difficult weekend.

Evgeny Novikov and Dale Moscatt held fifth from the opening day, and once more proved themselves to be consistent and competitive on the final day. They held onto their hard-won place to score their first points of the year at the end of a tough event. Novikov said:  "It was an extremely difficult rally but our Citroën C4 WRC was perfect all weekend and we made no mistakes. I didn’t take any risks today in order to hang onto my position. "

The up-and-coming Russian was fifth on only his fourth-ever event in a World Rally Car, aged just 18 years, eight months and five days. " Fifth place is an excellent result for us," he commented.   "I’m really happy. From now on, I simply want to improve!"

In recognition of his outstanding performance, Evgeny Novikov was awarded the Abu Dhabi Spirit of the Rally prize.

Conrad Rautenbach and Daniel Barritt re-started under the SupeRally system this morning and continued to make consistent progress right up until final service. The Zimbabwean said: "I’m still disappointed that we couldn’t finish yesterday as we had the chance to score some points. But generally speaking I’m pleased with our performance and once more we’ve learnt a lot. These lessons will certainly be valuable to us on the next round in Greece."

At the end of the 17 special stages in Sardinia, whilst holding a solid ninth place, Conrad Rautenbach and Daniel Barritt were unable to leave final service for the finish podium following an electrical problem.

Benoit Nogier, the manager of the Citroën Junior Team, concluded:  "Whenever one of our C4 WRCs gets to the end of a rally with no particular problems, we are inevitably well-placed. It’s one of the clear signs of the team’s potential and it underlines the fact that the Citroën Junior Team is very capable of finishing in the top five of any World Rally Championship event. Evgeny clearly showed this over the weekend, and I’m sure that he wasn’t over-reaching himself. Everything worked perfectly, and there were no dramas. Evgeny’s strong finish has boosted the morale of everyone in the team, but we need to keep working hard in order to achieve this type of result consistently. "

After examining the Citroën C4 WRC of Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia once it got back to the service park last night, the Citroën Junior Team decided not to field the reigning Junior World Rally Champions on the final day of Sardinia under the SupeRally rules.

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