The last time Louise Cook came along to the Festival of Speed she set a very competitive time around our short rally stage, despite being armed with a relatively mild Ford Fiesta ST (main image.) This time though she’ll be at the wheel of the very same Fiesta R2 she’ll be campaigning at the Rally of Sardinia along with the rest of the WRC circus next week.
Although she admits that there’s still some way to go before she can secure a full WRC drive, her aim to become the world rally champion is still very much her main focus. ‘I’m determined to become the first female to win it’ she enthuses. ‘Michele Mouton came so close to winning the championship. It’s a shame that another woman hasn’t competed for it since she did.’
As well as being a big Michele Mouton fan, Louise also has a lot of time for a certain Sebastien Loeb. ‘The man won nine championships, so he must have known what he was doing! I actually study what he did a lot.’
Sadly the Goodwood rally stage is nothing like as long a those on a typical WRC event, but despite this Louise has very fond memories of her last visit in 2012. ‘Well, it rained’ she explains ‘so what with that and the twisty nature of the stage it was really slippery. I loved it!’
In 2012 Louise became the first lady to win the FIA Production Car Cup (2WD) and in doing so became the first female ever to win a championship which hadn’t been specifically created for women. Bear in mind that we’re talking about someone here who had to sell her road car and even some trophies in order to secure the necessary funding to progress with rallying. As such, we wouldn’t bet against Louise securing a full WRC drive before long.
But don’t take our word for it. Make your way up to the rally stage at the Festival of Speed to see Louise chucking her Fiesta about. Oh and while you’re there, please do take in the awesome spectacle of a field (literally!) full of historic and modern rally machinery: Mini Coopers, Escorts, Sunbeams, Group B cars… even a Ferrari 308! It’s going to be a rally fan’s paradise.