Louise Cook

Louise Cook (born 14 May 1987) is a British rally driver. In 2012, she became the first woman to win the FIA Production Car Cup for Drivers of 2WD. In a career which has seen her struggle to obtain sufficient sponsorship to allow her to participate in rallying events, Cook has also won the British Rally Championship Ladies' title in 2010 and 2011.

Louise Cook
2012 rallye deutschland by 2eight dsc3763.jpg
Cook (right) at the 2012 Rallye Deutschland
Personal information
NationalityUnited Kingdom British
Born (1987-05-14) 14 May 1987 (age 33)
Maidstone, Kent, England
World Rally Championship record
Active years2012, 2016–present
Co-driverStefan Davis
TeamsRally Team GB
Rallies13
Championships0
Rally wins0
Podiums0
Stage wins0
Total points0
First rally2012 Monte Carlo Rally
Last updated on: 11 October 2019.

BiographyEdit

Early life and careerEdit

Cook was born on 14 May 1987 in Maidstone in the English county of Kent.[1] She attributes her taste in rallying to her father Robert who brought her a battery powered vehicle on her sixth birthday. Cook regularly used the car for several hours until its battery died and she occasionally caused property damage to the family home.[1] She studied car design at Coventry University.[2] Cook had her first experience in rally at the age of nineteen while attending a car show and noticed an advertisement to encourage more women into rallying. Although she had no prior rallying experience, the driver entered and came second out of 1000 women.[2] Cook's first rally participation was behind the wheel of a Peugeot 205 in the 2006 Rockingham Stages. Cook was the youngest driver in the race and ranked 51st out of 105 competitors.[3] It was at this rally that she began her partnership with her co-driver Stefan Davis.[4]

Two years later, during an annual trip to Finland to improve her handling technique, she had an accident where she crashed her car against a frozen snow bank over 130 mph (210 km/h) and broke her collarbone and nine ribs.[3] In 2009, Cook decided to formally compete in a rally championship and thus sought sponsors for her plan called Promotion 50, which focused on obtaining the support of 500 sponsors who contributed £50 each. The plan won her the support of 300 companies and together with support from commercial sponsors and her own contributions, Cook was able to secure the budget required to partake in the 2010 British Rally Championship.[1][3]

To allow herself to commit to rallying, she resigned from her job as a receptionist for Kent County Council in February 2010.[5] Her first season was considered successful by taking four class podium finishes with two of those being victories and was ranked in the top ten standings of the British Rally Championship Challenge. Cook's results led her to winning the C4 class title and the Women's championship.[1] In the following season, she failed to record a podium finish, but come the end of her campaign, she was second in her class rankings. After a closely fought contest at the championship's penultimate round, the Rally Yorkshire, which became the final rally of the season following the cancellation of the Isle of Man Rally. This consequently forced Cook to undertake a last-minute rethink of her strategy.[6] Her results allowed her to retain the Ladies' championship for the second successive year.[6]

World Rally Championship careerEdit

 
Louise Cook and Stefan Davis in a Ford Fiesta RS for the 2018 Rallye Deutschland

Cook began competing in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in the production class in 2012 and drove a Ford Fiesta ST.[7][8] One day before the deadline for production entries, her team had not decided on whether they wished to enter but chose to file an entry shortly before it was closed.[9] At the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally, Cook became the first woman to claim a production class podium position by finishing in second place.[10] Her next rally five months later in Greece saw her secure a sixth place production class result despite her car becoming damaged. Cook's funding had dried up before Rally New Zealand and was forced to sell her trophies on eBay to raise £17,000 which enabled her continuation in the championship.[8][10]

She contracted flu and later a chest infection but still drove cautiously to claim second in the production class.[11] Cook had her first (and only) retirement of the season in the Rallye Deutschland.[12] In the Rally d'Italia Sardegna, her car was affected by multiple problems and fought through pain in her left arm to finish tenth in her class.[13] Cook was diagnosed with a broken collarbone by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile's (FIA) medical delegate Jean Duby and was required to withdraw from the season-ending Rally Catalunya.[14] Her results throughout the season made her the first woman to clinch an WRC title with the FIA Production Car Cup for Drivers of 2WD.[15]

In 2014, Cook trained the actor Idris Elba in helping him refine his rallying ability for the BBC documentary Idris Elba: King of Speed.[16] Days before she was due to enter the 2015 Rally d'Italia, a surgical screw from an operation three years previously got stuck in her subclavian artery and obstructed blood flow which led to her being transported to Maidstone Hospital. Cook consequently had her clavicle plate carefully removed but it took her time to get her strength back.[17] It was announced in July 2016 that she had obtained the funding which allowed her to take part in the Rally Finland.[18] Cook survived an intermittent engine misfire caused by a damaged crankshaft sensor and this prompted a mid-rally engine switch. She eventually finished 53rd overall.[19]

Cook turned to crowdfunding and sold more of her trophies to enable her to pay for her entry fees for WRC-3 in 2017 after some of her major sponsors pulled out.[20] She had to retire from Rally Sweden after losing her Ford Fiesta's bumper before the Colin's Crest jump during the second pass over the Vargåsen stage. Cook was able to re-assemble the car, but a homologation problem in the spare seat brackets made her unable to start the final leg of the rally.[21] Although her name was in the entry list for the fourth round of the season, the Tour de Corse,[22] she could not raise the necessary amount of funding to take part in the rally.[23]

Cook entered the 2018 Rally Italia Sardegna as a private entrant in a WRC-3 Peugeot 208 R2 that she hired from Spanish team Mavisa Sport after the Ford Fiesta R2 she intended to drive could not be used because no team manager could be found to enter the car for scrutineering the week before.[24][25] She prepared for the rally by taking a 30 km (19 mi) test. Cook finished third out of four entrants after problems with seat padding in pre-rally scrutineering was deemed illegal, reducing her visibility.[24] She switched to Team Floral to drive its Ford Fiesta R2T for Rallye Deutschland and received donations from crowdfunding to enter the event. Cook placed third out of four entrants.[26] She followed this with a ninth-place finish in the season's next round, Rally Turkey.[27]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d "Driver Profiles: Louise Cook". Rally Team GB. Archived from the original on 27 February 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b "The Interviews: Louise Cook". Fast Car (314): 89. April 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Erlam, Peter (Autumn 2011). "Driven by an ambition to be the best". Mid Kent Living: 4–5.
  4. ^ Wolfe, Steve (3 October 2012). "Cook giving fans once in a lifetime chance". Kent Sports News. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Louise has her sights on winning rally championship". Kent Messenger. 14 May 2010. p. 52. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017 – via PressReader.
  6. ^ a b Wolf, Steve (26 September 2011). "Cook claims Rally Championship". Kent Sports News. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  7. ^ Salisbury, Matt (23 December 2011). "Cook ready to launch PWRC campaign". crash.net. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  8. ^ a b Jefferies, Martin (13 June 2012). "Champion rally driver Louise Cook raises enough money to race in New Zealand". KentOnline. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  9. ^ Cook, Louise (3 September 2012). "A baptism of fire and ice for Louise as she makes history". Sporting Memories Network. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Rally driver Louise Cook sells trophies to finance title dream". BBC Sport. 13 June 2012. Archived from the original on 23 March 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  11. ^ Wolfe, Steve (26 June 2012). "Cook shines at NZ Rally after funding battle". Kent Sports News. Archived from the original on 1 March 2018. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Loeb makes it nine in Germany". Wales Rally GB. 27 August 2012. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Tough Point for Tough Cookie". Matsuura Machinery. 29 October 2012. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  14. ^ "Rally RACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada 2012 – Runda PWRC bez kobiet". Autoklub.pl (in Polish). 8 November 2012. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  15. ^ Craig, Andrew (4 June 2015). "UK's fastest rallying lady ‑ Louise Cook ‑ to fly again at FoS". Goodwood Road & Racing. Archived from the original on 30 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  16. ^ "Idris Elba: King of Speed – About the Show". BBC America. 2014. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  17. ^ Pyman, Tom (12 November 2015). "Louise Cook speaks out on WRC struggles". KentNews. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  18. ^ van der Walt, Andries (13 July 2016). "Louise Cook Returns To The WRC After A Three-Year Absence". Rallystar. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  19. ^ Hassan, Umar (5 August 2016). "Louise Cook's WRC return rewarded with Rally Finland finish". The Checkered Flag. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  20. ^ Wiseman, Ed (12 January 2017). "Rally driver Louise Cook auctions trophy to fund 2017 WRC3 campaign". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 27 March 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  21. ^ Robinson, Matt (February 2017). "Watch A Rally Car's Bonnet Flip Up At The Most Inappropriate Moment". Car Throttle. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Liste des engagés Tour de Corse". Rallye-Sport (in French). 16 March 2017. Archived from the original on 19 March 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  23. ^ "Big cash blow for Aylesford rally driver Louise Cook". Downs Mail. 12 April 2017. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  24. ^ a b Bruce, Andrew (11 June 2018). "Successful weekend for Cook". Kent Sports News. Archived from the original on 20 June 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  25. ^ "Car switch hampers Cook". World Rally Championship. 5 June 2018. Archived from the original on 20 June 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  26. ^ Durán, David (29 August 2018). "El Rallye de Alemania 'Low cost' de Louise Cook que acabó en podio" (in Spanish). Revista Stratch. Archived from the original on 23 November 2018. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  27. ^ Bruce, Andrew (20 September 2018). "Tough Turkey weekend for Cook". Kent Sports News. Archived from the original on 24 November 2018. Retrieved 23 November 2018.

External linksEdit