The Michael Park 'Beef' Trophy is awarded annually in memory of Michael Park, who died in a tragic accident during Wales Rally GB in 2005, while co-driving for his long-term partner Markko Martin. Michael is much missed by the entire World Rally...
The Michael Park 'Beef' Trophy is awarded annually in memory of Michael Park, who died in a tragic accident during Wales Rally GB in 2005, while co-driving for his long-term partner Markko Martin.
Michael is much missed by the entire World Rally Championship (WRC) community. To perpetuate his memory a group of friends and colleagues - inspired by Vincent Laverne - commissioned the trophy.
The bronze bust was created by French artist Francois Chevalier and has been donated to his wife, Marie, and children, William and Victoria.
Each season a smaller replica trophy is awarded to a WRC co-driver who has best demonstrated the overall qualities associated with Michael during his career, taking into account overall performances, attitude, commitment and other specific actions or achievements.
The decision is made by a jury selected from the WRC community. In 2006 the inaugural trophy was presented to Daniel Elena from Monaco, in 2007 the trophy was awarded to Finland's Timo Rautiainen, in 2008 to Denis Giraudet of France and in 2009 to Jarmo Lehtinen from Finland.
For 2010 the jury comprised Paul Turner (the manager of Michael Park), Robert Reid and Vincent Laverne. They had to choose between five nominated co-drivers: Phil Mills (Great Britain), Daniel Elena (Monaco), Julien Ingrassia (France), Miikka Anttila (Finland) and Alex Haro (Spain).
We are pleased to announce that in 2010, Phil Mills has been chosen as the fifth winner of the Michael Park 'Beef' Trophy.
Phil became world champion co-driver with Petter Solberg, driving for the Subaru World Rally Team, in 2003. During a career which has spanned 11 years at the highest level, Phil won 13 world rallies with Solberg, his first win fittingly coming in Wales in 2002. The world title was also secured in a dramatic finish in Wales in 2003.
Phil stepped down from competitive rallying in June 2010 after starting 152 world rallies alongside Solberg. They started competing together in 1999 in a Ford Escort World Rally Car, prepared by M-Sport, before moving to Subaru during the 2000 season.
They remained there until Subaru withdrew from the WRC at the end of 2008. During the last two seasons Phil continued to co-drive for Solberg in the Norwegian's private team, competing in a Citroen Xsara and more recently a Citroen C4 World Rally Car.
"Phil competed directly against Michael for many years and they always had a great respect for each other," said Paul Turner. "Although they were competitive on rallies, they were great mates away from the events, enjoying each other's company, particularly at shooting events for which they both had a great passion.
"It is fitting that after such an illustrious career Phil should receive this trophy and recognition back in his home event in Wales. It was the scene of his greatest highs in the sport in 2002 and 2003 and his greatest low in 2005, when Michael died during that year's event," he added.
Phil was presented with the trophy in front of the spectator stands at Wales Rally GB at the start of the Super Special Stage in Cardiff Bay this evening (Thursday), by Paul Turner.