Le Mans 2005
The Tourists' Story
Winding Down on Sunday
With my rendezvous with the Tourists due at 7.30, I made my way from the stand up through the Village and to the now silent champagne stall. Just a few hours ago this part of the circuit was alive with Le Mans revelers in varying states of excitement and drunkenness. Now all that was on offer was croissants and hot strong coffee. Very reminiscent of the scene from "Le Mans" after the rain in the morning as the camera moves around the lifeless fairground picking up spectators in varying degrees of weariness. Ian arrived bang on time as the only representative of the Tourists and we shared one of those eyeopeningly jarring cups of coffee before walking back to the very bottom of the garage rouge where Ian had this time parked with ease, thanks to the garage rouge pass obtained so thankfully yesterday.
I've become used to the "back to Le Grand Luce for breakfast" routine over a period of 10-11 years and I'm still grateful to Ian and the others for putting up with it as it means coming back to the circuit after dinner (no hardship, surely?) but more so, getting up pretty early in the morning to come back and pick me up again. One of these years I feel sure Ian will oversleep and leave me there until mid-morning.....
The Hotel Restaurant Le Cheval Blanc has been a regular haunt of the Tourists since Ian (or was it Alan?) first found it in 1992/93. It has changed very little in that time, an ordinary cheap and cheerful French hotel with (as so often in these places) an excellent menu at minimal cost. I have little doubt we'll be back there again next year......
After settling the bill and saying farewell to Madame, it was time to leave Le Grand Luce for another year. So where would we make for on this bright and sunny Sunday morning? I had first experienced the delights of the new spectator banking at the Porsche Curves back in 2002 at the first Le Mans Classic event, but we also managed to get there in 2003. I was pleased then when it was agreed to make the Curves our first stop. By the time we got there the car park was already jammed and having initially been turned away we were quite lucky to get in. It was already very hot again, but it was a great place to while away half an hour or so, catching up with the overnight news.Unfortunately, like most other places on the circuit these days, the Porsche Curves have their fair share of debris fencing to get in the way of the lens. Still, I did my best......
As you can see, I did manage to find just one small spot from which I had a relatively unimpeded view back from the Porsche Curves to see the cars as they completed the run from Arnage. The spot was much sought after, hence I only got a small number of photographs before we had to move on. While we were dawdling at the Porsche Curves, the clock was advancing rapidly and we decided to follow our customary Sunday afternoon game plan and head out to Arnage and Indianapolis.
As always, we enjoyed lunch and the excellent cider at our customary Arnage eaterie. By this time I was pretty well pooped. Still very interested in the race, as one of the Pescarolos was making startling inroads into the Audi's advantage. But it wasn't to be of course - we all knew that this was going to be yet another Audi victory. My tiredness affected my photography too as I could hardly raise the energy to try and take a decent picture there. Its ironic - one of my favourite spots on the circuit but again, almost impossible to photograph the action from there unless you have the luxury of a media pass, which I guess I'll never have......
From Arnage it was back to the car in the overflow car park (what a long walk that always feels at this time of a Le Mans weekend) and back to the main part of the circuit. So as to aid a quick getaway afterwards, we didn't go back to the garage rouge, but instead parked up in an access road just opposite the Tertre Rouge entrance. Once back inside the circuit for the final time, we saw out the end of the race from there. And I guess all I can say about that is very well done to the man with a link for Aysedasi's Le Mans on his Danish website! Well done Tom!
So, I'll finish the race photos here with my last few shots from Tertre Rouge....