Ford Mourn Michael Park's Death

Ford have paid tribute to Michael Park, describing his death at the Wales Rally GB today as losing a friend

Ford Mourn Michael Park's Death

Park, Markko Martin's co-driver, was killed when their Peugeot 307 left the road and hit a tree in the 15th stage of the rally.

Park and Martin competed with Ford between 2002 and 2004, which resulted in five WRC victories, before leaving for the French manufacturer this season. Their first victory was on the Acropolis Rally in 2003.

Ford motorsport boss Jost Capito said: "On Ford's behalf, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Michael's family, friends and colleagues following today's dreadful tragedy.

"During his time at Ford, 'Beef', as he was affectionately known to everyone in the sport, became a friend of us all. He was the utmost professional, but never lost sight of the fact that despite the intensity and pressures of his job, rallying was fun.

"He reached the very top level of his profession, but still retained close links with his many friends and colleagues at grass roots level, with whom he first developed a passion for the sport.

"He will be sadly missed by everyone within the Ford team and far beyond, and needless to say all of us are distraught at today's events."

Malcolm Wilson, Ford's team director, commented on the help Park had given to his son Matthew as he started his driving career.

"I will always appreciate the help and assistance he gave to my son, Matthew, and his co-driver Scott Martin," Wilson said. "When they started competing, his advice was invaluable and after their accident this year he encouraged and inspired them to get back in a rally car.

"His ever cheerful and vibrant personality, even in the most adverse of circumstances, frequently lightened the tense atmosphere that often surrounds the WRC service park. He was rarely seen without a smile on his face and that's the way I will remember him.

"He learned his trade as a navigator and co-driver on local rallies and his path to the top of the sport was the result of nothing less than hard work. He forged a great partnership with Markko and Michael's first world rally victory in Greece in 2003 was a proud moment for him.

"Rallying has lost the ultimate professional and ambassador and we have all lost a true friend. He will be sadly missed."

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