Car switch hampers Cook

Britain’s Louise Cook endured a frantic build-up to her WRC return in Italy this week after a last-gasp chase around Europe to source a car.

After it became clear she would be unable to drive her Ford Fiesta R2 at Rally Italia Sardegna (7 - 10 June), Cook ended her hunt in Spain where she hired a Peugeot 208.

After a brief test last Friday, the car was shipped from Barcelona to Sardinia in readiness for the seventh round of the WRC season.

“We found out a week before we were meant to be leaving that we had no team manager to take our car to Sardinia and deal with scrutineering and run the team. We were literally down to myself, my co-driver and one mechanic,” she explained.

“It was going to be impossible to run the car ourselves so we tried to see if there was another car available. We found a team in Spain that had a Peugeot. It was so stressful, I didn’t know if we were going to the rally.”

Cook's last rally was in Sweden in 2017

Cook, whose last outing was in Sweden last year, won her class in Sardinia in 2012 en route to lifting the two-wheel drive title in the FIA Production Car Cup. She admits a repeat is unlikely as she comes to terms with the WRC 3-category Peugeot.

“It feels so different to the Fiesta. The situation isn’t ideal and it’s going to be tough getting used to the car. I haven’t really set any goals and with everything changing, I would be happy with a finish. A podium would be a bonus,” she said.

Cook’s Sardinia return brings back painful memories of her 2012 appearance. She broke a collarbone after a heavy landing over a jump, reigniting a previous injury.

The bone was plated but it returned to haunt her again three years later when a surgical screw compressed an artery during a pre-event test and obstructed the blood flow, forcing her to withdraw her entry.

Head to WRC+ to watch All Live from Rally Italia Sardegna, including every stage broadcast live, breaking service park news and expert studio analysis.

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