Having got a decent nights
sleep my body clock woke me early as usual and I eventually got up around 7.45.
Although James and I have had the habit in recent years of heading into town a
little later on day two of scrutineering as that normally starts with a
succession of Ferraris, those were the very cars that Toby particularly wanted to
see, so we made an earlier start than normal at 9.25, again parking in the Rue
D'Algers, this time avoiding the fun and games with the ticket machine that we
had last year by paying by card. Unfortunately as we could only purchase
three hours at a time, it would mean a couple of trips back to renew the ticket
during the day.
Having had another quick look
around the square which was pretty quiet at this time, we took a breakfast of
coffee and croissants at the Galand before James and I moved around to our
favourite spot to watch the cars arrive. The Ferraris were already
arriving en masse and Toby stationed himself at the scrutineering area, hoping
to get a closer look.
While taking up our position
we bumped into Bart Hayden, the boss of the Rebellion team (who we visited in
the pits back in 2009 when they were still the Speedy Racing Team Sebah with
Rebellion sponsorship). James has maintained occasional contact since
organising that pit visit and several times since we've been able to have a chat
with him. His initial reticence seemed to be quickly overcome, perhaps as
a result of appreciating that he was with friends of the team and he became
rather more candid with us about the team's chances, what with the apparent
fragility of the factory LMP1s and the good results at Silverstone and Spa.
It's a fact that we all love those that try and we could only hope that
Rebellion's dogged persistence in LMP1 would bring them a decent result.
As yesterday, we experienced
some rain showers, but managed to dodge the worst of them by standing under the
overhangs of the surrounding buildings. We did well when the nice young
lady working for Audi started dishing out the posters and t-shirts (although
it's a shame that we're all supposed to be medium sized!).
For me, the
highlights of the second day of scrutineering were Audi and Rebellion and we
managed to get ourselves into a couple of good spots for photos. At one
point we stepped out of the rain showers to go into one of the local shops as
that had the lure for me of a large selection of fountain pens (one of my other
passions!) but I managed to resist the urge to spend my Euros in there, although
Toby did buy a marker pen in the hope of getting autographs of the Audi drivers
on his freebie Audi t-shirt.
As morning moved into the
afternoon, it was time to get some lunch and for once we resisted the temptation
of another croque madame and instead walked down into the town to indulge in
baguettes and pastries from one of the local shops - and very good they were
Following our lunch it was back to scrutineering still suffering from
regular showers of rain. As the crowds were thinner than normal, Toby and
I were able to pause at the end of the scrutineering area where the cars and
drivers make their exit to take some photographs while James paid a visit back
to the car to top up on the parking time.
We saw the Audis emerge but
sadly the drivers were nowhere to be seen. Eventually we gave up on the
autograph idea but as we left the scrutineering area we bumped into Leena Gade,
the well known race engineer of the very successful Lotterer/Fässler/Treluyer
car. Leena would be retiring from the Audi race team after Le Mans to move
to the Bentley customer arm. Leena was kind enough to pause for photos and
to put her autograph on Toby's short!
On our way up to scrutineering
that morning we had spotted a patisserie selling typical wonderful looking
pastries so as the afternoon wore on we decided to walk down there and Toby and
I indulged in a rather large millefeuille each. Although we did head back
we soon concluded that we had seen all that we really wanted to see, including a
close-up view of the Rebellions and the ByKolles car as they were put back into
their trucks. We decided to call it a day and headed back to the car.
Click the link below to see my
videos from scrutineering on both Sunday and Monday.
On the way back to the hotel
we stopped at the local Auchan for provisions - for me, some water, cherries,
strawberries and my favourite almond tuiles. Back at the hotel we chilled
for a couple of hours before going out for dinner. For dinner, old
habits died hard again for James and I and Monday evening meant a trip up to the
Hippo Grill, where tradition again dictated foie gras to start, followed by the
steak kebabs. The food was excellent in familiar (if still slightly dull
surroundings). After dinner it was back to base again for some more
football on the TV and shuteye.
So, three days into the trip already and
scrutineering was now done. A fine (if rather damp around the edges) start. Despite my now
legendary weather 'optimism', I was still concerned about the weather as it
appeared unlikely to cheer up very much for the rest of the week. But
tomorrow was another day, the familiar 'day of rest' between scrutineering and
qualifying which would see the team numbers swelled by the arrival of Tony's
party in the afternoon.