Louise
Cook

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Next rally April 29-30-11 - Pirelli International

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Age: 24
Location: Kent
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 50 kilos
Loves: Jaffa Cakes
Hates: Losing
Favourite driver: Sebasatien Loeb
2010 set goal: To come top 10 in the BRCC
2010 achievement: Top 10 in the BRCC
Championship titles" BRCC RC4
Ultimate goal: First female world rally champion
Interests: Keeping fit, playing the piano, drawing and CARS
1st stage rally: Rockingham Stagers, 51st from 105 drivers

Louise got her first taste of driving when her late father bought her a battery powered car on her 6th birthday which she would put her pet rabbit in the back of and drive round for hours each day until the battery went flat. Robert may have regretted this gift after Louise wrote off the conservatory twice, two garden fences and took the front axle off it.

Louise's first experience of driving a rally car was when she was 19 and studying Car Design at Coventry University. Louise was at a car show and saw a competition advertised to get more women into Rallying. Cookie entered and found herself runner-up out of 1000 women. With no previous motorsport experience, Louise was amazed and this gave her the confidence to enter her first ever rally, the Rockingham Stages. Thanks to her student loan, Louise achieved a creditable 51st out of 105 in an old Peugeot 205.

Cookie was desperate to find a way of rallying more often than once a year. So she came up with an idea called Promotion50. The target was to gain 500 fifty pound sponsors to raise £25,000. Cookie dragged herself around Trade Shows and the Industrial Estates of Kent knocking on businesses doors asking for the support of £50 day in day out. Louise managed to get 300 companies on board and just about got her first season underway in 2010 competing in a Fiesta ST in the British Rally Championship Challenge. Sacrifices had to be made though; Louise had to sell her much loved Ford StreetKa road car to get to the first round. She also gave up her full time job to commit fully to her chosen sport and £50 campaign.

In 2011 Louise stepped up to the British Rally Championship where she became British Female Rally Champion and came 2nd in the Fiesta Sport Trophy. In 2012, Cook threw herself into the deep end and made the massive step to the World Rally Championship, where she became the first ever female to win an FIA Rally Title, excluding the ladies cup.

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Cook number 55 for WRC3 2013


The 2013 season is set to be Cook's toughest test yet. The World Rally Championship has made big changes for 2013, gone of the Production World Rally Championship and Super World Rally Championship now to be replaced with new championship categories of WRC3 and WRC2.

The Production World Rally Championship now being replaced with WRC3 as undergone the biggest change. The regulation change as seen the dropping of 4WD production based vehicles such as the Subaru Impreza and the Mitsubishi Lancer being replaced with the new bread of R class cars. The R class cars are cars specifically designed for rally and the higher the R number the higher the machine specification i.e. R1 basic spec and R5 the top R spec. WRC3 class is only open to the front wheel drive machines being R1, R2 and R3 type cars.

The difficulty is a top class WRC3 car, being a R3 variant is significantly more costly than a car that would compete for outright victory

in the previous PWRC class. A 4WD Production World Rally Championship car would be around £50,000 with a new class leading competitive car for WRC3, an R3 variant would be a more substantial cost of around £80,000.

Cook is planning to contest the 2013 season to develop her experience and talents further with a compromise R2 class car and look to upgrade to the R3 class in the 2014 season.

“It is not ideal, we had a 3 year plan to win PWRC. This year was about gaining 4 wheel drive experience then challenging for the PWRC championship in 2014. We have had to adapt to the changes and 2013 is taking the same route but now in a slightly different way. Staying with a front wheel drive car for 2013 will give me more pace long term. The 4 wheel drive machines give a lot more grip and if you learn to go quickly with less grip in 2 wheel drive, it should be easier in some ways to push the 4 wheel drives to the limit later on.” Said Louise.
Source: www.rallyteamgb.com/2013/02/cook-number-55-for-wrc3-2017

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