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Michael Park

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Michael Park (22 June 1966 – 18 September 2005) was a rally co-driver from Newent in Gloucestershire.

One of the top co-drivers of his generation, Park died as a result of injuries sustained in an accident on the final leg of Wales Rally Great Britain when his Peugeot 307 WRC left the road and struck a tree. As co-driver to Markko Märtin, 'Beef', as he was affectionately known, enjoyed considerable success with the Estonian during three seasons at Ford before joining Peugeot for 2005.

A rally enthusiast since the age of ten, he 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 Estonian talent Markko Märtin as a privateer pairing in a Toyota Corolla WRC 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 (Mexico, Corsica and Catalunya).

Perhaps known best for his keen sense of humour and his distinctive St George's Cross helmet, 'Beef' Park became a fan favourite, especially in his native England and (nearly-adopted) Estonia. His driver Markko Märtin once joked that he gave him a "9/10" - lacking one point only because he didn't speak Estonian. After the crash, an emotional Markko said "Park wasn't my co-driver, I was his pilot."

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