There was of course no rush to do anything this
morning as after the circuit goings-on of the last two days, Friday was the
final chance for a chill-out day before race day. The main event of the
day was the arrival of the final member of the Le Mans crew.
This would be Toby's second Le Mans, having come over with me for the full week
in 2016. This year, with his commitments with McLaren he wasn't able to
get the time off and having done the full thing once, he was quite content to
come over for just the main event.
The morning rituals of shower, coffee and get
dressed were leisurely performed this morning and after a call home I checked to
make sure that James was still in the land of the living. Toby was
travelling on the night boat, getting in at about 8.30 am French time. We
started messaging around 9 am by which time Toby was off the boat and motoring
down, expecting to get to Le Mans by midday.
James F also let me know around the same time that
he and Ramona had decided to take a full day away from the circuit and would
instead be doing a spot of sightseeing. We agreed that I'd borrow his
Parking Blanc ticket in case we decided to take two cars into the circuit later.
Allon was also on the texts and I explained the situation to him. He was
inclined to take a morning stroll up to the Classic British Welcome at St
Saturnin, so I said we'd see him later as James and I thought we would probably
do the same after visiting the bar. Bearing all of this in mind, James and
I decided there was no point to rushing up to the bar so James got his head down
for a bit more kip while I mooched around sorting out batteries and the like for
Toby arrived in good spirits just before 11.40.
I had already paid for his room and got his key so he was able to get settled in
straight away. We headed up to the bar for coffee and then headed down the
road to have a look around the cars at the Classic British Welcome, Toby finally
picking up some food on the way. We spent an entertaining hour or so there
before heading back to the hotel to meet Allon. After some debate about
taking two cars, it was decided that we'd all squeeze into mine. My
1-Series is ostensibly a four-seater, but as a three-door car, it favours just
two so it was quite cosy in the back! We left at about 1.20 pm, arriving
in Parking Blanc.
James and I had no need to mingle with the masses
getting into the pitlane having already done it on Tuesday so we left Toby and
Allon to have a wander while we looked around the Village. We bought some
of the special 'Pink Pig' and 'Rothmans' t-shorts from the Porsche stall at the
bottom of the Village. I got a Rothmans one for Tony who had decided to
take a raincheck on Le Mans this year.
I confess that throughout all of this I had a
weather eye on my watch as I was concerned about getting away from the circuit
and back into town. We had intended to take in the Driver Parade but in
the end we all agreed that getting parked up and then out again in time to be
back to eat at a sensible early hour was just going to be too difficult so we
decided to leave the circuit and head back to the hotel.
It turned out to be a good plan as James F and
Ramona were still in town and James messaged me to say that they were going to
be some time getting out with all the road closures and were hoping to eat a bit
later than planned. Unfortunately for them, my 'crew' were famished and
were determined to do the opposite and get some food early to make sure we got
an early night. I had also collected a nasty twinge in my back and it was
really playing me up and I was keen to make sure it was well rested before
tomorrow. So we agreed to hang on until Allon had called home, intending
to leave for Del Arte at 6.15. James and Toby came to my room
for coffee around 5 pm, which had me in a small panic afterwards as Toby
wandered off with my key!
It was then a case of another meal at Del Arte,
the highlight of which was watching Toby devour a huge 'sharing' dessert all by
himself! Then back to the rooms for that most important sleep of the year!