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Sabré Cook makes up positions in Sebring, secures double top-15

Despite a tricky qualifying, Sabré Cook bounced back and kicked off her second Porsche Carrera Cup NA season with great recoveries in the two races, making up 8 and 4 positions and finishing solidly in the overall top-15 at Sebring.


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

Porsche Female Development Driver and Shift Up Now athlete Sabré Cook kicked off her 2024 Porsche Carrera Cup North America season at Sebring, in a support event to the IMSA 12 Hours of Sebring. Competing in the Pro class, Cook showed great speed and battled in the top-15, making up several places in the two races and knocking on the doors of the top ten as she picked up where she left off last year.

 

Cook returns to the championship after making her GT racing debut in 2023; the former W Series driver in fact recovered from a back injury at the end of 2022 and won the Kellymoss female driver shootout, which granted her a funded seat in the highly competitive Porsche one-make series.


She was also enrolled in the Female Driver Development Program within the Porsche Motorsport North America and immediately showed great potential among the Pro entries; the Colorado-native scored points straight away and claimed her first top-10 on her third race meeting - in a stellar weekend at Miami where she collected a season best of sixth.


Unfortunately, she was involved in a big accident at round 6 in Indianapolis, which ruled her out for the rest of the season. Having fully recovered, Cook moved to MDK Motorsports for the 2024 season - and impressed in the pre-season tests, where she proved again to belong to the top end of the Pro class.


Coming into qualifying, which took place in warm conditions on Thursday morning, Cook couldn't quite make the most out of her tyres and car setup and was P21 on the grid of race 1, while her second-best lap placed her P17 for race 2, in a strong 40-car field that features both highly experience returning drivers and promising new entries.

Following the tricky qualifying result that left her out of position, Sabré and her team worked to improve the car setup and to extract more speed from the tyres ahead of the first race, later in the evening.


Race 1

Loek Hartog (Kellymoss) had a sterling start from pole position - but there was early chaos as ProAm pole sitter Alan Metni went off, as well as Kellymoss teammate Wallace - although the race remained green. Sabré Cook was boxed in on the inside but still managed to gain one spot over the first lap, moving up to P20 overall and 16th among the Pro class.


Cook was on a mission and gained two more places on lap 2, when she started to chase Madeline Stewart ahead; the safety car was then deployed for the stranded car of Alan Metni at turn 1. The neutralization required for barrier repair also offered Cook the chance to cool down her tyres after the spirited first few laps.


The green flag waved again on lap 6 - and the driver of the #37 Porsche 992 Cup car fired into P14 with a brilliant restart. Sabré kept climbing the order and completed a spectacular overtake on Michael McCann, which gained her the 13th spot. McCann fought back the two traded positions in a hard but fair side by side duel that was the highlight of the race - which Sabré described as "great fun".


Cook held off her rival until lap 13, when he eventually found a way past. In the closing laps, Cook held position and crossed the finish line in P14, starting off her season with a solid top-15 following an impressive recovery: over the course of the 17 laps, she had gained eight positions.

Loek Hartog took the chequered flag to secure the first win of the season, with Gustav Burton not far behind, one second off. Ryan Yardley was 5.8 seconds down the road in third.


Sabré Cook, MDK Motorsports, Porsche Carrera Cup North America, 2024 Sebring
Photo credits: Porsche North America | @jessicajohnk
Race 2

After a charging drive on Thursday, Sabré Cook had the chance to start a bit further ahead in the second race, contested on Friday afternoon, as the sun set over Florida.

From 17th on the grid, Cook was just ahead of fellow Porsche Female Development Driver Madeline Stewart when the lights went out for the 50th start in the history of Porsche Carrera Cup North America.


On the front row, Hartog was off in the grass at the exit of turn 1, kicking a lot of dust on track. He could rejoin, but had dropped to third, with Burton and Yardley leading the pack.

Several cars moved column before the start line - and Sabré Cook received a heavy side-by-side hit that made for a messy start. Nevertheless, she reacted quickly and kept her nose clean in the following corners, when chaos broke loose and a multiple car accident brought out the full course yellow.


Cook had managed to narrowly miss the accident and moved up to 16th overall, 14th among the Pro class. The race went back underway with 26 minutes to go and Hartog was quick to snatch back second place from Yardley. Cook gained a further position overall and chased ProAm leader Alan Metni - as the sun had now fully disappeared behind the horizon.

It was Sabré's only second time dealing with sunset visibility.


She found a way past Metni and, only one second behind, she now had Rearden Racing's Jake Pedersen in sight. Cook was faster and, after a couple of laps of non-stop battle, she made a move stick on lap 13, with 6 minutes to go. Once ahead, Cook immediately stretched her legs and pulled away, but had a 7 second to close to De La Torre.


Burton and Hartog battled hard on the final laps; the second placed driver had in fact received a 10 second penalty for jumping the restart but the big gap to third placed Yardley would still give Hartog a podium post-penalty. Burton took victory - and Yardley, having gained a few tenths in the final lap, made it to second by 3 tenths after Hartog's penalty was applied.


With great pace once in clear air, Sabré Cook closed the gap ahead but was ultimately unable to move up to 12th, finishing only one second behind Zachary Vanier - who also had received a 10 second penalty. Cook was faster than most of the Pro cars just ahead of her - but the missed track position in qualifying ultimately cost her a top-10. Nevertheless, she again gained 4 places - which paired with the eight from race 1 highlighted again her racecraft.


“It felt great being back for the first race of the season,” Cook said. “While there were challenging parts to the week, and qualifying didn’t go as expected, we made up for it in the races and showed a lot of potential going into the rest of the season. I had some really good battles and passes, so that always puts a smile on my face."


Cook was the highest finishing female throughout the weekend - and was therefore awarded with three sets of Yokohama tyres.


“I can’t thank MDK Motorsports enough, and their partner, Ease Logistics, for bringing me into the team and providing great support to start the season", she continued. "My partners PenFed Credit Union, privé products, Hagerty, Shift Up Now, Bell Helmets, Sabelt America, Rude Image and MySim have all continued their support of me this season. I’m excited to also welcome Senergy Builders, McKenna & Associates, and Mobil1 to the team! I’m proud and thankful to have so much support behind me, and can’t wait to keep progressing throughout the season.”


The next Porsche Carrera Cup North America round is set to be contested in conjunction with the Miami F1 Grand Prix on May 3-5, on the track where Sabré Cook had secured her personal best on her rookie campaign. 

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