Le Mans 2015 - Ayse's Story
Page 3 - Monday 8th June
Scrutineering Day 2 (and a Little Tour)
It's always good to get the first night under the belt at the hotel, waking up in Le Mans. It wasn't a bad night's sleep in my comfortable little room (the same room, as I recall, that I've had for the last three years), but I was awake by 6 o'clock (a legacy of my normal waking time when I'm at work) and although I went back to sleep for a while, I only lasted until 7.20 when I decided to get up and hit the shower. James surfaced at a more 'reasonable' time and we were quickly into the car and off into town for the second leg of scrutineering.
Our biggest amusement of the day turned out to be in the car park when we arrived at around 10.45. We used the same car park but, being a Monday, we had to pay and for this very purpose James had collected together and brought with him a bag containing all of the small denomination Euro 'shrapnel' that he could find with which he then painstakingly plied the parking payment machine. After some time putting in 10 cent coins, the machine took an apparent dislike to this laborious process and spewed it all out again! Undaunted, James performed the operation again, only to be rewarded with exactly the same outcome.... I was beginning to suspect that the machine was only able to accept a certain number of coins, presumably to prevent it being filled to the brim with 10 cent pieces - or worse. On paper now, it all sounds pretty unremarkable but at the time it was pretty hilarious, although not perhaps for the elderly madame who was awaiting with admirable patience to get her ticket!
We eventually managed to sort out a ticket (for some of the time that we would be parked - James would need to go back and top it up later), and trod the familiar path up to the Place de la République where we wandered around witnessing the arrival of various cars including Oak, Manthey, ESM and around midday, the three Porsche LMP1s.
We utterly failed to resist the urge to lunch again at the Galand - one croque madame can never be enough - before heading back to see the arrival of the Toyotas and Corvettes.
As is our habit when 'doing a lap', we stopped on the grass verge just before Arnage corner for a short break in the sunshine, all the while contemplating what would be going on here in just two days time. As I write this part of the story (many months later), we know that works are being undertaken here and although the circuit itself may remain largely unchanged, I gather that the viewing area is likely to look rather different. We can only keep our fingers crossed that the works are done sympathetically with at least some thought being given to the needs of spectators and that one of our favourite viewing points isn't completely ruined.
We drove back to the main circuit area and carried on over to the dual carriageway near to the ticket and media collection centre at the Actisud (on the other side of the airport) where we paused a while to take in the great view of the grandstands beyond the airport itself.
Having done our little tour we headed back from the circuit, stopping briefly at the Super U near Arnage where I stocked up with my favourite water and we began our search for some camping chairs to use later in the week. It had been a really pleasant afternoon in glorious weather and we arrived back at base at around 5.45 for a little bit of rest plus a shower and change of clothes before heading out for dinner.
We thought quite hard about going back to Del Arte but instead decided to give an old haunt, the Hippo Grill, another try. We had been there quite a few times over the years but the food and the service had deteriorated, but the lure of foie gras was just too great and so we made the short trip up the road for dinner. As it happens, we had what turned out to be the best dinner we'd ever had there. The foie gras was excellent and the steak brochette that followed was superb. The whole thing was rounded off in the best possible way by - you guessed it - a first class crème brulée. So we did well, but I couldn't help but think that we just got lucky on this occasion!
The meal over, we made the short journey back to the hotel for some rest, in the knowledge that Tuesday was exactly that, our 'day of rest' before the whole event really began to ramp up on the Wednesday.