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AUSTRALIAN PRESENTED WITH PRESTIGIOUS FIA AWARD

Michelle GattonCAMS Official Dr Michelle Gatton has been awarded the 2011 FIA Outstanding Senior Official of the Season.

Last year, the FIA introduced a number of awards for exceptional performance by officials who have served the sport in any of the events listed on the FIA International Sporting Calendar.

There are a number of categories and candidates are nominated by their respective national sporting authorities - voting is conducted by a panel formed from the FIA Volunteers and Officials Commission.

The "Senior Official" category was open to all Clerks of Course, Race Directors and Stewards, and Australia's Michelle Gatton was selected as the winner.

Dr Gatton became involved in rallying in the early 1990's and later that decade added official's duties to her involvement in the sport.

While her competitive activities came to an end in 2006, Michelle continues to serve with distinction as an official.

From 1997 until 2008 she honed her skills and deepened her knowledge of the sport by serving with the Qld Rally Advisory Panel of CAMS.

At the end of an eight-year tenure representing Queensland officials and competitors on the Australian Rally Commission, Michelle became an FIA Observer at numerous Asia-Pacific Rally Championship rounds.

Currently, Michelle is Clerk of Course for Rally Australia, a position she held for the last two events in 2009 and 2011.

Five-time Motorcycle World Champion Mick Doohan supported the nomination of Dr Gatton.

"Michelle is a confident, knowledgeable young lady who has a great ability with volunteer officials, a very strong sense of public duty and has demonstrated an awareness of the numerous very complicated safety issues that go with the conduct of a major motor sports event."

Garry Connelly, Deputy President of the FIA Institute said Australian Motor Sport should be proud to have one of its own claim such a prestigious international award.

"It is a wonderful achievement for Australian motor sport that in the inaugural year of the new FIA Awards for Outstanding Officials, our own Dr Michelle Gatton has been selected as 2011 FIA Senior Official of the Season.

"This is further evidence that CAMS continues to develop and nurture officials who are well and truly capable of holding their own on the world stage.

"It also is a great tribute to Michelle's leadership skills and ability to relate to both domestic and international stakeholders at international level."

The top honour was the Jacky Ickx award for the Most Outstanding Official.

Sadly, it was posthumously awarded to Spanish official Andrew Mas after he passed away shortly before the ceremony. The honour was bestowed on Mas for his incredible courage at the 1970 Spanish Grand Prix when he helped to save Jacky Ickx from his burning car. Another Australian, Peter Nelson, was nominated for this top award, and was presented with a certificate to recognise his achievements