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 Märtin.
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 François Chevalier and was donated to Michael’s wife, Marie, and children, William and Victoria.
Each season a smaller replica trophy is awarded to a co-driver who has best demonstrated the qualities associated with Michael during his career, taking into account overall performances, attitude, commitment and other actions or achievements.
In 2006 the trophy was presented to Daniel Elena from Monaco. In 2007 it was awarded to Finland’s Timo Rautiainen, in 2008 to Denis Giraudet of France, in 2009 to Jarmo Lehtinen from Finland, in 2010 to Phil Mills from Wales and in 2011 to Ilka Minor from Austria.
The recipient is decided by a jury selected from the WRC community. For 2012 the jury comprised Paul Turner (Michael Park’s manager), Robert Reid, Mark Wilford and Vincent Laverne. They had four nominations from which to choose: Jonas Andersson (Norway), Daniel Elena (Monaco), John Kennard (New Zealand) and Stéphane Prévot (Belgium).
We are pleased to announce that in 2012 Stéphane Prévot has been chosen as the seventh winner of the Michael Park ‘Beef’ Trophy.
He made his FIA World Rally Championship debut in 1989 at Rally GB. He teamed up with Bruno Thiry for Opel in 1991 and has been a regular competitor ever since, first with Thiry, then François Duval and since 2007 with Chris Atkinson. Stéphane has also partnered other drivers including Stephane Sarrazin, Evgeny Novikov and Henning Solberg.
During his long career, he has worked with many top teams, including Opel, Ford, Toyota, Škoda, Peugeot, Citroën, Subaru and, in 2012, MINI.
August’s Rally Finland was Stéphane’s 150th WRC start and this week in Britain he faces his 152nd event. He has yet to reach the top of the podium but has secured five second places, including the Ivory Coast Rally in 1992 and Mexico and Argentina with Atkinson in 2008.
The first 10 years of Stéphane’s career were spent with fellow Belgian Thiry and they played a vital part in General Motors Europe winning the 1993 2WD World Championship. They joined Ford in 1994 and competed regularly in WRC for the team until switching to Subaru in 1999 and Skoda in 2001.
Stéphane teamed up with Duval in 2003 and joined Ford as team-mates to Markko and Michael. They achieved success together and in 2005 joined Citroen, but Stéphane later chose to leave the partnership. He co-drove with Sarrazin in 2006 at Subaru and teamed up there with Atkinson in 2007.
He showed great loyalty to Thiry and more recently to Atkinson, staying with him when Subaru departed the WRC and travelling to Asia Pacific regularly for three years to compete alongside the Australian for Proton and Škoda.
They currently lead the 2012 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and although they are missing Rally Japan this weekend to compete for WRC Team MINI Portugal in Rally GB, they plan to start in China in November and try to secure the title.
During the past four years, Stéphane has also competed in a variety of rallies around the world to support his family. He has also provided advice and guidance to many younger co- drivers and when not competing reverts back to his original status of rally fan and can be found on the stages of Belgian rallies with friends, family and supporters.
Paul Turner, Michael and Markko’s manager, has worked closely with Stéphane and described him as a ‘great guy’. “He is a hugely experienced but, at the same time, modest and unassuming co-driver who goes about his business in a low profile but utterly professional way, traits which were, of course, true of Michael as well.
“Michael always had a lot of time for Stéphane and I know he would absolutely approve of the decision to present him with this prestigious award today in Wales,” added Turner.
Stéphane was presented with the trophy by Ford World Rally Team director Malcolm Wilson in front of invited media, guests and friends of Ford at its Happy Hour reception in the Wales Rally GB service park in Cardiff on Wednesday 12 September.
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