Official WRC thread

Organisers halted Wales Rally GB early yesterday after the death of competitor Michael Park in an accident. Peugeot confirmed that Welshman Park, co-driver for Markko Martin, was killed instantly when their 307 WRC went off the road and hit a tree on SS15 of the rally. Following the accident, SS15 and the rally's remaining two stages were cancelled, and Peugeot withdrew its second car, driven by Marcus Gronholm, as a mark of respect.

That would have handed victory in the rally and, as a result, the world championship to Citroen's Sebastian Loeb, but he deliberately checked into the final time control late, incurring a penalty which dropped him to third in the final results, behind Subaru's Petter Solberg, who inherited victory.

At the closing ceremony in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, there were no celebrations, as fans and drivers observed a minute's silence, while tributes poured in from fellow competitors. Colin McRae said Park was "one of the championship's real characters", while Malcolm Wilson, boss of Ford, where Park and Martin spent three seasons, said "rallying has lost the ultimate professional and ambassador."
Rest in peace michael park, I had really high hopes for him and markko. I hope markko does not retire from rallying. I feel terrible for Michael's family
Ripplin said:
Yeah, Markko seems to have escaped uninjured. Here's a new article detailing why he'll miss Rally Japan, and how he's starting to reconcile the situation:,,10111~716057,00.html
I've just remembered that a similar accident happened to Possum Bourne which killed his then co-driver and great mate Roger Freeth. Possum returned to rallying and was highly successul - his cars carried the registration 'ROJ' as a tribute.

I've no doubt we'll see Markko back - if nothing else I'm sure he'll do it as a tribute to Michael's memory.
fbc - You need to add that then Possum died. That was also a very sad day two years ago now.

Rallying, be it WRC, regional or the Dakar, they have all had some very fine folks die in the last couple of years. Almost always, there are wives and kids left behind.

I still remember Fabrizio Meoni this January.
^ I was going to mention that, but my guess was most posters already knew that. But you're right - I should've mentioned it, my apologies.

I was in NZ last year but only found out after I left about the memorial to Possum at the spot of the accident - kicked myself for not knowing about it and paying my tributes. I did think about it him and the accident when I was in the general area though - it's strange how people touch you even though you never knew them personally.
fbc said:
it's strange how people touch you even though you never knew them personally.
Yup. Don't have to know them personally, but they bring us joy anyway.

One of my favorite Michael Park memories was he and Markko's domination in Greece the last couple of years. I'd never rooted for two guys so much before and haven't since. :)


New member
Marko speaks the first time after the accident:

"Markko Martin has paid tribute to his co-driver Michael Park, who died in an accident during the Wales Rally GB last weekend, the Estonian saying he has lost a friend and brother.

Park was killed when the duo's Peugeot left the road on SS15 and hit a tree.

Martin and Park drove together for six years, including a works contract with Subaru in 2001 and a three-year deal with Ford between 2002 and 2004. The pair then joined Peugeot at the beginning of this season.

In a special tribute to Park, published in this week's Autosport magazine, the Estonian said: "We won the rallies we wanted to win. The only one he really wanted was the one I wasn't able to deliver - Great Britain.

"Then he went out with such a big bang. When that happened, I lost the world's best co-driver, a very good friend and brother."

Park's funeral will be held at noon on Thursday October 6th at St Bartholomew's Church, Much Marcle, Ledbury, Herefordshire. The service will be open to the public.

This week's Autosport magazine includes an in-depth analysis and tribute to Michael Park by Markko Martin and many other of the Briton's rally colleagues"

Marko escaped from injuries, you're correct ... my bad for false info.



New member
Alrighty, Rally Japan over and no comments here...

I really gotta say there was some spectacular rallying going on there!! The footage I saw from the stages was just awesome. Narrow roads with trees lining the roads and the drivers going like mad (as usual).

Solhberg's race didn't end up so nicely but I suppose everyone has to have some bad luck at some point?

Loeb sealed his championship and looking at his results from this year he deserved it... I am really looking forward to seeing him in another car next year. Then we will really be able to compare his performance against others!

And last but not least. Dunno if anyone else saw the clip but Hari Rovanper? gave some Japanese tennis star a ride in his Mitsubishi and it was hilarious! The guy was really shitting himself! I've never seen anyone that scared :lol:
yeah I saw that clip of the tennis star on the shakedown video.. Too bad for solberg I was really hoping he'd take the win... but marcus did a good job of staying ahead of the pack as well.

nice solid performance by atkinson, his first podium!
Nicky was right - that clip of Harri and the tennis player was very funny. Well, more funny for us than him, I'm sure. ;)

I was sad to see Solberg hit that huge rock. Would've been great for he and the team to take a second consecutive win there. I was also sad to see Hirvonen go out early after a great start. Nice to see Chris Atkinson have a good result. He really pulled it together.

Of course, it was never in doubt but very cool to see Loeb win the title again. Can't wait to hear the off-season news to see what and where people will be driving, especially Seb! Things could be very, very different next year.


New member
Woo hoo! Great to see Atkinson performing at the important part of the year. But lets just wait for his home Rally at the seasons final in Perth :D
Yeah, it's always great to see drivers competing at their home event.

Oh, and they said it was the first time in 13 years that an Australian had been on the podium. Does anyone know offhand who the last one was?


New member
Ripplin said:
Yeah, it's always great to see drivers competing at their home event.

Oh, and they said it was the first time in 13 years that an Australian had been on the podium. Does anyone know offhand who the last one was?
I cant remember but I would be interested :think:

Does anyone know what happens when Richard Burns gets better. Does he get his old Suburu drive back or does Atkinson keep it?