Le Mans 2014 - Ayse's Story
Page 6 - Wednesday
Now It's For Real - First Qualifying Session
The first qualifying session was due to start at 10 pm and after a quick discussion we decided to ring the changes and watch this session from Mulsanne Corner instead of Arnage as we usually did. After a surprisingly straight-forward journey, we were rather irritated to be pressed to show a parking ticket for a huge car park that had barely 30 cars in it! We had a ticket of course, but it seemed completely over the top to be applying that level of security this early in the race week. After making the walk down to the corner we still had lots of time in hand before the start of the session which enabled me to settle down for a late dinner of merguez and frites, while the others tucked into omelettes.
Qualifying started on time and we experienced that great moment as we listened to the cars blasting down the Mulsanne for the first time in the session, the sound getting louder and louder until they burst into view, the two blue and white Toyotas looking like they really meant business at the front of the field.
As is customary by now, my night shots at Le Mans leave plenty to be desired.... I include them on the pretence that they might just be regarded as being vaguely 'arty', but the fact of the matter is that at the distances from which amateurs have to shoot and the with limitations of my kit, this is the best I can do!
It was another really warm night as we set up on the bank. In the past I've always eschewed the idea of carrying a folding seat around with me as they always looked a pain to have to lug around, however Tony and James had both packed several and brought them to Mulsanne Corner. After a while I succumbed to the temptation to sit down for a few minutes. So there I was, sitting comfortably, still in a t-shirt on this lovely warm night, watching the action, both in front of me on the circuit and also on the big screen opposite, while listening to the action on Radio Le Mans. Is there a better way to spend an evening in France?!
Predictably though, the session finished early again, I believe after the #99 Aston Martin hit the barriers causing damage that would take too long to repair (and ultimately caused it to miss the remainder of the event, sadly). So we trekked back to the car for the journey back to the hotel, arriving a little earlier than we would otherwise have expected, just after half past midnight.