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Le Mans 2018 - Ayse's Story

Page 8 - Back in T34 - 2nd Qualifying

Thursday 14th June



Despite the relatively late night I was awake by 7 am and after a coffee I wasted no time getting showered and dressed.  Having had to literally dump my car on the grass in the car park, I wandered down at 7.40, by which time some of the other guests had already left and reparked the car.  There was no rush to do anything this morning as Allon wasn't due until midday, so I caught up with the thoughts of my fellow Ten Tenths members for an hour or so before checking that James was still 'alive'.  We knew that Allon would need a trip to Auchan for supplies once he had settled in, so although James F made a shopping and petrol trip, James and I stayed put. 

As James F and Ramona were doing other things, James and I decided to head off up to the bar for a late breakfast.  In fact, when we got there, we decided that an early lunch was actually a better idea, so, much to Madame's delight, we ordered croque monsieurs, frites and salad which, although not perhaps to the quality of the Galand offerings, were still very good and bearing in mind the vagaries of the food at the circuit, set us up nicely.  While we were eating, James F let us know that Allon had arrived and I knew from my text exchanges with Allon and James F that they were going up to Auchan when he was ready.  This enabled James and I to nip to Decathlon to change the trousers that he'd bought earlier in the week.  So after eating we sorted that out (after a bit of a wait with customer service) and then we also popped into Auchan and found Allon and the others.  Allon had employed a racy little Rebellion-livered (well almost!) two-tiered trolley which we all found very amusing......



We were in no rush to get to the circuit today, even though there had been on-track action from 9 am with the Road to Le Mans practice and qualifying and the Aston Martin Le Mans Festival sessions, which held no great interest for any of us.  We decided to head in at around 2.30 pm which gave us a bit of time after returning from Auchan to sort out the gear that we would take with us for the rest of the afternoon and evening. 

We had another very easy run into the circuit and having parked up in Parking Blanc we all wandered along taking a look in the shops behind the grandstands.  We then wandered around the circuit with a view to getting a seat in the Dunlop grandstand for the first Road to Le Mans race.  Unfortunately the grandstand was packed so instead we found seats in the next grandstand ('Panorama'), between the Dunlop grandstand and the Dunlop Bridge.  The weather had really greyed over and there were definite drops of rain in the air so it was good to be under the (albeit rather limited) cover of what I have to say is a rather uninspiring grandstand.  The Aston Martins were still qualifying and we got bored very quickly and decided to move on.  Our original thought was to watch the RTLM race from the Raccordement stand however that was a fair walk away so James and I made the decision to head over the Dunlop Bridge and through the village, stopping here and there to look at the shops and exhibits before making our way right along the back of the pits to take a look in T34, the pits grandstand.  James F and Ramona had also cried off Raccordement as they said it also looked full, so they had sat down on the tribunes opposite the Toyota pits. 


James and I took up seats in the front row of the T34 at what I still call the 'Audi end' or pit out from where we watched the RTLM race.  It was good to be back in T34, one of the few places now on the circuit where you can take unobstructed shots of the cars as they run past on the main straight and also as they come into and out of the pits.  OK, you can't see what is going on in the pits themselves, however the rest of the view more than makes up for that. 









James and I decided to sit tight in the grandstand for the second qualifying session for the Le Mans cars and got some great views as they lined up ready to begin the session.  Thomas Laurent and André Lotterer from Rebellion were watching on directly below us.  As it was, the session was pretty chaotic with a myriad of accidents and spins. 






























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About half an hour in, a big accident to the Cetilar Villorba Corse P2 car brought out another red flag and due to the need to effect barrier repairs and clean up the track, the race director ended the session early, and made the decision to start the third and final session at 9.30 pm instead of 10 pm.  James and I quickly decided that it didn't make any sense to hang around here and I texted James F to say that we were thinking of leaving now and heading out to Mulsanne Corner.  James F was of the same view so we all headed off to the cars in Parking Blanc for the run out to Mulsanne Corner.