Le Mans 2014 - Ayse's Story
Page 16 - Sunday
Mulsanne for Breakfast
We had been determined to stay at Arnage in order to see the dawn - and we did so, but when James suggested that we move on to Mulsanne, Tony and I were definitely ready to try and get some circulation back into our legs. We went back to the cars and rejoined the two 'sleeping beauties' before heading off to Mulsanne corner, with the heater on full blast this time instead of the air-conditioning! I'm not entirely sure now what time we arrived at Mulsanne but I guess it must have been some time after 6 am, as dawn was just before 6. Having warmed up a little only to go out into the cold again, it was quite a tough walk from the car park to the corner which we broke at the first clearing where the cars are already pretty much up to speed as they head on down towards Indianapolis.
Having taken some quite decent video footage from here last year, as I did at Arnage on Thursday evening, I hoisted my video camera up on my monopod in order to try and catch the cars over the fencing. I was quite pleased with the results when I watched them back but wished I had taken more. We walked on down to the banked viewing area before deciding it was time for our standard Sunday morning coffee and croissants breakfast. We didn't bump into Pascal at this time as we normally do. He told me later that with Vincent and Amandine still asleep in the car he had decided not to make the trip out to Mulsanne at the usual time but instead he went out to Arnage at around 6.30, by which time we had already left.
The Sunday morning 'feeling' is a familiar one although these days it's rather different. As a 'Tourist', aside from a couple of years (92 and 98) when Peter and I went on our own, my Le Mans nights were entirely solitary. In the earlier years I walked a fair distance, often from Tertre Rouge all the way around to the Porsche Curves. As time wore on into the 2000's and I started getting a grandstand ticket, often courtesy of my old Ten Tenths pal Fabrice Chaplin ('Fab'), I gradually spent more and more time sitting in T34 taking night shots of the cars from there and also from my all-time favourite spot atop the old 'Welcome' building. But it was always a case of finally taking a rest, waiting for Ian to come and find me to take me back to Le Grand Lucé for breakfast, followed by what always seemed a very long wait before I could get back to the circuit to catch up with what was going on in the race.
Since 2010 of course, things have changed dramatically. Race nights are no longer spent alone as thankfully, I have both James and Tony for company to share my fascination with the wondrous thing that is the 24 Hours at night. But, even such ardent enthusiasts as we three are now accept the fact that a break on Sunday morning is quite important if we are to survive the final quarter of the race, particularly after a night like this one!
Having had our breakfast and despite the fact that the sun was just beginning to make it's presence felt again and having been warmed up a little by a reviving hot drink, my energy was totally drained and when James suggested that now was the time to make the move back to the hotel for a short break and a freshen-up, Tony and I were significantly relieved.