Aysedasi's Le Mans

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Le Mans 2019 Ayse's Story

Page 4 - Sunday 9th June

 'Back in the Place'



As is the way, when I'm on holiday my in-built body clock woke me up nice and early at about 7 am (which would have been 6 am English time).  With no rush to get up though, I snoozed on for another 45 minutes or so before settling in to my routine of making coffee, showeing and dressing.  I'd been thinking about communication between us as we'd had a few communication issues last year and I decided to create a WhatsApp group for all of us to join (including Tony and Allon) to ease things as we went through the week.  I set up the Team DoT group adding James, Lauren and James F.  I was later able to add Tony and Ramona and finally enabled Allon to 'take another step into the 21st century' as he so aptly put it!  

The pan was to set off to the town for scrutineering at 10 am.   I had had some 'Go Rebs' t-shirts made for the whole team and we decided to wear them for this first morning in Le Mans.  I have to say that I thought we all looked rather splendid!  Although I think Ramona was a little concerned at first that she might have to wear her t-shirt for the whole week....  

We eventually set off a little later than intended at 10.30 for what was the first time that I had driven into the centre of Le Mans.  It was an easy journey.  Having successfully located and used the Republique parking on the Monday last year there was no real need this year to head for the Rue D'Algers to park as we had in previous years.  The parking under the Place de la Republique was both safe and incredibly convenient.  We were parked up about 40 minutes after leaving the hotel and emerged from the lift directly into the Place.  There was still plenty of time to kill before the first cars came through - a gaggle of P2s and the Porsche GTs weren't due until 2 pm.  

We took a leisurely walk around the square checking out the various model and other stores, with Lauren trying to avoid the urge to buy lots of Porsche models...  After a good look around the temptation to eat was simply too much to resist and being in the Place de la Republique not only was there only one place to go, the Galand restaurant but also only one thing to eat, a croque madame with salad and sauteed potatoes.  Lauren, clearly not being a fan of meals with fried eggs in the middle went for an omelette instead.  The meal was good although the serving of potatoes was a little more sparse than usual.  The Galand is also an excellent patisserie and James and Lauren couldn't resist the urge to sample a pudding...

By the time we had finished our meal it was around 1 pm and although the first cars weren't due to head into scrutineering for another hour, we knew that those at the beginning of the list would already have arrived around the corner in the 'collecting area' so we took the short walk from the Galand for our first view of the 2019 Le Mans cars.  Already being offloaded were the Jackie Chan DC Racing and Ducaine Engineering Orecas.  The next arrivals were Lauren's favourites, the works Porsche RSRs, two in slightly modified colours with gold replacing red to celebrate their victory last year, while the other two were in Brumos livery, reflecting the famous Daytona 24 hour victories for the Brumos team.  The cars looked fine but they didn't catch the imagination (or at least my imagination) in the way the Rothmans and Pink Pig liveries had done last year.

More cars quickly followed these early arrivals notably the two Toyota TS050s, the two Corvettes in their familiar 'Velocity Yellow' livery and the cars we were particularly waiting for, the two Rebellions.  And therein lies another tale....  As I've already mentioned, I had produced 'Go Rebs' t-shirts for the entire Team DoT crew using a photograph I had taken at Le Mans last year of one of the Rebellions in the now standard red and black colour-scheme.  However the team decided to thwart me by introducing new liveries for Le Mans.  James had spotted them when the Rebellion team unveiled the two cars at the circuit before they headed off to scrutineering.  Incredibly garish and not to everyone's taste, the cars looked as though a classroom of schoolkids had been let loose on them with cans of fluorescent paint.  Still, they were at least...different.  The look on James F's face when he saw the photograph for the first time was priceless!  It was while we were waiting around for the Rebellions to arrive that we bumped into our old friend Eric ('Batmobile' on Ten Tenths) showing his support for Corvette as always.  We also managed to spot Sebastien Buemi and also Fernando Alonso taking lunch in the Globe restaurant and as the afternoon wore on we also bumped into Bart Hayden, the Rebellion team boss, as he emerged from the depths of the car park at the Place.  

I'm afraid we didn't do very well with the Rebellions and the only view I got was of the #1 car, the predominantly black car (in contrast to the predominantly white and yellow of the #3) as it arrived in the road into the Place just before 4 pm, although I was luckier with my video as the car arrived.  We had another walk around the Place seeing the final cars arrive as well as pondering the more than faintly bizarre sight of an elderly 'bag lady' wandering around in her swimsuit as if she had taken a very serious wrong turn on her way to the municipal pool....

At 5.30 we decided that we had seen enough, the crush around the official photography area was just too much to give us any chance of a decent view there so we headed back to the cars for the journey back to the hotel, arriving a half hour or so later.  As we hadn't eaten since our early lunch we were all keen to go out soon for a meal and, for a change, we settled on Courtepaille just up the road.  James F and I had eaten there several times in 2010 and 2011 before 'discovering' the delights of Del Arte in 2012 and we hadn't been back since, but I think we all fancied some good honest grilled meat for a change.  The trip up to Courtepaille - a journey of less than 5 minutes - was quite amusing in that it saw my first wrong turning of the week as James kindly helped me to navigate not to Courtepaille but to the peage before the autoroute!  We did get there eventually much to the amusement of James F and Ramona who had dutifully followed us...  The meal was OK, although the beef brochette James and I had enjoyed previously had sadly disappeared from the menu so I had a mixed brochette instead with chorizo, beef, pork, duck and chicken.  It wasn't bad although it was a little overcooked, probably because they knew we were English and just assumed that we only eat incinerated meat.  The dessert however was very good indeed, a very posh rice pudding with a delicious madeleine.  I could haven eaten three of those desserts!  

Following our meal we were back to the hotel by 8.40 again to wind down after a very enjoyable day and once again, after watching a but of TV I was in the land of nod by 10.30 pm.  

























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