Lehtinen Awarded Michael Park “Beef” Trophy

by James Broomhead

Jarmo Lehtinen, co-driver to WRC title challenger Mikko Hirvonen, has become the fourth winner of the Michael Park “Beef” Trophy.

Each year the trophy is awarded in memory of Michael Park, who was killed in a tragic accident on Wales Rally GB in 2005, when he was co-driver for Markko Martin.

After Michael's death a group of his friends and WRC colleagues commission the award and a bronze bust by French artist François Chevalier, which was donated to Michael's wife, Marie and children William and Victoria.

Since then a smaller replica has been awarded annually to the WRC co-driver who best embodies the qualities associated with Michael during his career, based on overall performances, commitment and attitude.

Lehtinen was selected by the four member jury, comprised of Paul Turner, who was Michael's manager, Richard Burn's former co-driver Robert Reid, WRC promoted Simon Long and Vincent Laverne, a friend of Michael's who led the formation of the award.

He was picked from a shortlist that also included Phil Mills, Julien Ingrassia, Marc Marti and Jan Tomanek, and was presented with the trophy by Paul Turner at the Ford Rally team's media reception in Cardiff ahead of the 2009 running of Wales Rally GB.

Lehtinen and Mikko Hirvonen, who he has partnered since 2002, including a Ford drive in 2003 alongside Park and Martin, have won four rallies this season, putting them in contention for the title ahead of this weekend's final round.

The three previous winner of the Michael Park “Beef” trophy are Daniel Elena, Timo Rautiainen and Denis Giraudet.

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