14 November 2014
WRC Wales Rally GB: Ingrassia awarded Michael Park ‘Beef’ Trophy
Sebastien Ogier's co-driver Julien Ingrassia presented with the Michael Park 'Beef' Trophy at the start ceremony of Wales Rally GB, the 2014 WRC season finale
World champion co-driver Julien Ingrassia has been chosen as the ninth winner of the Michael Park 'Beef' Trophy.
The trophy is awarded annually in memory of Park, who died in a tragic accident during Wales Rally GB in 2005 while co-driving for long-term partner Markko Martin.
He remains much missed by the entire World Rally Championship community and 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 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.
The recipient is decided by a jury of Park's close colleagues from the WRC community, comprising Paul Turner, Michael Park's manager, Robert Reid, Vincent Laverne and Mark Wilford.
Ingrassia began his motorsport career in 2002 at club level in France, and has partnered Sebastien Ogier since 2007 when they won a one-make series in their home country.
The following season they won the Junior WRC, and after joining Citroen's factory team, the duo scored their first WRC victory in Portugal in 2010. They added five more wins the following season to finish third in the standings.
In 2012 Ingrassia switched to Volkswagen with Ogier, where they developed the Polo R WRC. Last year Ingrassia claimed a maiden world title on home ground in France and secured back-to-back championships in Spain last month.
He has won 23 of his 83 WRC starts and finished on the podium on 34 occasions.
“After winning the JWRC in 2008, Julien quickly established himself right at the top of the elite group of World Championship co-drivers,” said Turner.
“Inside the car he exudes the level of professionalism required at the highest level of the sport and consecutive world titles were just reward for the effort and commitment Julien has put into his partnership with Sebastien.
“Outside the car, Julien is a lively and colourful character and there is no doubt that Michael would recognise many of his own traits in him,” added Turner.
Ingrassia was presented with the trophy by 1981 World Rally Champion driver Ari Vatanen and Robert Reid, World Champion co-driver in 2001, at the start ceremony of Wales Rally GB in Colwyn Bay on Thursday.
Previous winners of the Michael Park 'Beef' Trophy include Daniel Elena (2006), Timo Rautiainen (2007), Denis Giraudet (2008), Jarmo Lehtinen (2009), Phil Mills (2010), Ilka Minor (2011), Stephane Prevot (2012) and Nicolas Gilsoul (2013).
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