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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

Sabré Cook claims fifth top-ten of the season to date with strong run at Watkins Glen

Sabré Cook achieved two top-ten finishes at Watkins Glen, continuing her strong performance in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America with consistent top ten finishes - five over the first eight races and three consecutive ones - and yet another personal best in qualifying.

Sabré Cook, MDK Motorsports, Porsche Carrera Cup North America, 2024 Watkins Glen
Photo credits: MDK Motorsports

Sabré Cook secured a pair of top ten finishes at Watkins Glen International – the fifth top ten of her Porsche Carrera Cup North America campaign so far, as the series reached its mid-way point. Cook, a Shift Up Now athlete, has scored points in seven out of eight races to date, marking a continuous progress for the MDK Motorsports driver in her second year in the championship.

Coming off two positive rounds at Miami and Montreal in support of Formula 1, Cook aimed to carry momentum at the iconic Watkins Glen circuit, which was the home of the US GP from 1961 to 1980 and today hosts the world renowned Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen. The Porsche Carrera Cup North American series, in fact, returned on the support bill of IMSA for the fourth round of the season in the State of New York.

Cook's sophomore season in the one-make series has been a widely positive one to date, with two point scoring results at the Sebring season opener, followed by an eighth place finish as well as a tenth place at Miami Autodrome, which has proved to be very friendly ground for Cook.

At Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Sabré continued her strong form and, crucially, significantly improved on her qualifying performance. Despite a deluge in race 1 that saw many cars going off track, she would fight back in race 2, with another eighth place finish.

Having scored points twice at The Glen in her rookie campaign, Cook was therefore aiming to continue the positive streak at the 11 corners, 3.552 km circuit.

Driving the #37 PenFed Credit Union 992 Porsche GT3 Cup machine operated by MDK Motorsports, Cook was competitive straight from the practice sessions, running in the top 15 in two dry sessions despite a heavy downpour in between.

In a tightly contested qualifying on Saturday, Cook clocked a 1:49.279, her best lap of the weekend - and once again capitalized on a strong qualifying run that placed her ninth on the starting grid of both race 1 and race 2 - the latter shaped by the second-best lap classification. It was a further improvement in one-lap pace from Montreal, and another proof of the steps forward made in the first part of the season by the Colorado-born racer.

Sabré Cook, MDK Motorsports, Porsche Carrera Cup North America, 2024 Watkins Glen
Photo credits: MDK Motorsports

Starting for the first time in her Porsche Carrera Cup career inside the top ten, Cook had a solid getaway but faced immediate pressure as she had to defend against a cluster of cars entering the bus stop chicane on the first lap. The Shift Up Now athlete held her position and settled into tenth place, closely tailing De La Torre.

By lap 3, however, Sabré was already faster than the cars around her and attacked the JDX Racing driver: the two ran side by side for several corners before she eventually made the move stick with a brilliant maneuver. Now in clear air, Cook soon tried to pull away, with now a 2 second gap to close to Colin Kaminsky ahead.

With great pace, Cook caught the group of cars ahead - which included Jimmy Llibre, who was handed a 10 second penalty for track limits. Half a second per lap quicker, Sabré was now putting pressure on Colin Kaminsky, Jimmy Llibre and Alex Sedgwick, in a big train of cars battling from fourth to tenth.

When the #74 Porsche of Kenton King went off and made contact with the barriers on lap 13 after contact with Scott Blind, the full course yellow was deployed with 14 minutes left on the clock. The green flag waved again for the final 7 and a half minutes of racing - with Ryan Yardley leading Loek Hartog into turn one, although the latter put on a fight over the following lap.

Cook had a clean restart and resumed his battle with Kaminsky - but the race was soon back under caution when Angel Benitez hit the wall at turn 7, effectively ending the first race of the weekend.

With Llibre's penalty, Sabré Cook took the chequered flag in eighth place, adding another top ten to her tally. The result matched her personal best of the season, previously secured at both Miami and Montreal.

Sabré Cook, MDK Motorsports, Porsche Carrera Cup North America, 2024 Watkins Glen
Photo credits: MDK Motorsports

On Saturday morning, Cook lined up ninth on the grid of race 2, based on the second-best qualifying laps. At the green flag, Alex Sedgwick held the lead from Loek Hartog at turn 1, but a massive shunt soon interrupted the race after eight cars were totaled into turn 2: Pedersen, Castro, Benitez, Metni, Tutino, Bellomo, Uretsky and Madeline Stewart were out after hard hits into the guard rails.

Sabré Cook was just ahead of the accident and made it through unscathed, settling in P10 as the pace car was deployed.

Racing resumed with 18 minutes to go and Cook defended well from an attack by Yves Baltas into turn 1, holding on to P10, while Sedgwick had a clean restart and kept the top spot overall.

Cook had good pace and soon started to focus on the cars ahead - resuming her chase of Colin Kaminsky, just like in Saturday's contest. Glued to the back of the #77 Porsche 992, Sabré tried to find a way to pass her opponent - while at the same time keeping MDK Motorsports' teammate Baltas at bay.

A contact between Blind and Mosing did not require neutralization, and the race went on under green uninterrupted: despite the heavy pressure, Sabré Cook couldn't quite find a gap crossed the finish line in P10 - thus securing another back to back top ten, the fifth of the season and the third consecutive one for the Shift Up Now athlete.

"The past few races have shown a really positive trend," said Cook after the event. "As I'm continuing to learn this series, and the car, I'm starting to gain some momentum in terms of overall performance each weekend, my out-right pace, and my results."

"I want to thank MDK Motorsports for giving me such a strong car, and all the sponsors who make it possible for me to compete in this Championship. I'm really looking forward to our next event at Road America, and I can't wait to continue the progress."

With the series now entering its second half of the season, Sabré Cook will return behind the wheel for the fifth round of the season at another iconic North American circuit - Road America - on August 2-4.



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