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Le Mans 2018 - Ayse's Story

Page 13 - Time to Race....

Saturday 16th June



With the pre-race festivities now over, the cars left their echelon formation and set off around the 'green flag' lap.  All that is apart from the Bykolles which was reluctant to start and eventually when it did, Dillman spun it at the Dunlop Chicane.  We had noticed a change to the starting procedures last year which resulted in the cars no longer having the opportunity to get one or two laps in to check on systems, the state of the track etc., which I found disappointing as the previous longer build-up tended to enhance the atmosphere before the start.  Nevertheless, the pace car soon hove into view and the 86th edition of the 24 Heures du Mans was under way. 


It turned out to be an eventful start to the race as the field thundered past us in the grandstand and the normally bullet-proof André Lotterer wiped the nose off of his Rebellion in a first corner skirmish at the Dunlop Chicane.  As I recall, he swore blind afterwards that he hadn't touched anything (leaving therefore a veiled suggestion that the nose hadn't been secured properly) however the video of the incident left no doubt at all in my mind!  Unfortunately that put one of our favoured Rebellions on the back foot from the very start. 





As usual, we settled into our seats to watch the race unfold.  As expected, the two Toyotas set the pace and it was the LMP1 non-hybrids that had problems, including the #11 SMP which had a long stop dropping it to the back of the field.  After an hour and a half the leading non-hybrids were already half a lap down on the Toyotas. 





In LMP2 the G-Drive Oreca #26 was looking very strong while in GTEPro the Porsches were battling up front although I was pleased to see the BMWs finding good pace to get up into the top five.  In GTEAm, the pretty Gulf Racing Porsche had a shunt at Indianapolis which caused a long slow zone.

By now Toby had already had a typical attack of wanderlust and had left the stand in search of sustenance!  James and I decided that we would hang on in the stand until 6 pm.  We then left the stand leaving James F and Ramona there to continue following the race with the intention of meeting up again later down at Tertre Rouge.  We made our way around to go through the tunnel near the main entrance and on down to the Dunlop Bridge on the inside to meet up with Toby at the Espace Club but by the time we arrived there he had headed on To Tertre Rouge so we then headed down on the inside of the circuit to meet him there. 

And so to the videos.....