Conditions and part failure conspire to prevent stage win
WRC3 contender, Louise Cook, moved up to sixth place (59pts) after a gruelling four days in Catalunya. The Solera Autodata sponsored British driver had to battle with worsening weather conditions on the part-mud, tarmac and gravel course, only for two unexpected component failures bring her challenge to a halt in a race she did well to complete.
Louise said, “Our initial preparation went very well with two full recce runs completed satisfactorily and the team very happy with our progress. However, failed components and adverse weather conditions conspired against us meaning 4th place is the best we can achieve this year, leaving us reflecting on what might have been.”
Louise had initially climbed to 2nd place before she experienced problems on a long 40km stage of gravel and tarmac which caused forced retirement to locate and fix the fault. Traced to a loose engine wiring harness connector to the high-pressure fuel pump sensor, the car was fixed and Louise re-joined the race.
At this stage she was still in with a chance of winning as near-placed rivals made mistakes. However, accrued time penalties meant Louise had the disadvantage of starting the 3rd day towards the back of the field and struggle on a badly rutted course caused by the preceding drivers.
Sunday saw the weather improve slightly and despite a heavily smoking engine from a blown turbo, Louise completed the final two stages. Louise said, “Despite the challenges, we managed to finish Rally Spain, a nice achievement as we nearly didn’t. If we return to Spain next year I hope it will be kinder to us.”
The final stage of the WRC3 Rally takes place in Australia next month, 15-18 November 2018.