Monday, September 19, 2005

Michael 'Beef' Park

While I was watching BBC's Sport Today this morning I saw something on the news ticker about Michael Park. It seems that he died in the Rally of GB this weekend after a big crash. For you who don't know him, he's the co-driver of Markko Martin who drives for Peugeot this year.

It's very sad news. We all know that rallying is very dangerous and I've been to a rally and I can assure you that these guys drive like madmen. Fortunately there hasn't been any fatalities in the past decade. So Michael Park's death has surely hit the sport very hard.

Sebastian Loeb gave up the win that would assure him the 2005 WRC champion by deliberately getting time penalties as he does not want to receive the championship in this circumstance. Peugeot pulled out of the race altogether.

Here's the news from,:
Michael Park: 1966-2005

Michael Park - PeugeotMichael Park, one of the top co-drivers of his generation, has died as a result of injuries sustained in an accident on the final leg of Wales Rally GB. As co-driver to Markko Martin, 'Beef', as Park was affectionately known, enjoyed considerable success with the Estonian during three seasons at Ford before joining Peugeot for 2005.

Park - a rally enthusiast since the age of 10 - gained experience with some of Britain's top talents. He worked with former world champions Richard Burns and Colin McRae as a gravel note expert while co-driving for both David Higgins and Mark Higgins in the British national series. His big break, however, came when he teamed up with the emerging Martin as a privateer pairing in a Toyota Corolla for the 2000 World Rally Championship season.

After a string of impressive performances the pair were signed up by Subaru for 2001, before moving to Ford, where they evolved into one of the leading driver/co-driver combinations in the WRC. In 2003 they took two rally victories, in Greece and Finland, and improved on that figure with three wins in 2004.

The pair were lying fourth in this season's title race after securing four podiums in a season dominated by Citroen's Sebastien Loeb. Their performances had been instrumental in Peugeot's challenge for the manufacturer's championship, with the team lying six points behind French rivals Citroen.

Michael is survived by wife Marie and children William and Victoria.



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