It's that time again. And following a lot of drama in free practice and qualy on Wednesday, I'm feeling a little more hopeful about the chances of some sort of challenge to the Toyotas. But the best of the racing is likely to be in the lower classes. Lots of F1 refugees as usual (though sadly no Jenson Button this year); I'll be interested to see how Vandoorne gets on. And LMP2 has a lot of ex-Audi and Porsche LMP1 drivers alongside the usual mix of experienced hands and rich kids having a go.
I'll be set up for the night armed with a laptop, the Eurosport Player app on the Fire stick, and coffee on tap. I find that no other race sucks you in quite like this one. And there's nothing quite like watching an LMP1 car onboard in the dead of night.
Loving it. Sadly, the Rebellions are struggling to catch the Toyotas, but anything can happen yet. The Russians are competitive.
The GT racing is where the real excitement is. One of our party is a serial Porsche owner/investor so handed around a a few spare keys to give us access to Porsche Hospitality which has fantastic viewing and a shuttle to the curves. Well worth it.
We are off to Hotel Arbor this morning down the Mulsanne.
Le Mans is Le Mans, its always going to be special.
A few aspects were disappointing. Firstly, the Bop in GTE Pro. It was tweaked on Friday after qualifying. However, qualifying was interrupted several times. Two hours might sound like a lot of time to set a laptime, but when you have that volume of cars going for laps, outlaps and local yellows, some evidently didn't get clear laps. So one of the Aston's got pole, but where were the other Aston's? If they had an advantage, all three AMR Vantage's would have been top five - they were not. So come race day, hit with Bop changes, the Aston's pace was nowhere. So what the Aco did was further hamper a car which wasn't really the fastest GTE car anyway.
Then, the decision to penalise Fassler with his collision with Satoshi Hoshino in the Porsche Curves. This was nonsense. It was blatantly Hoshino's fault for not looking where Fassler was, the latter was committed to the left hander, there was no backing out of that. If one looks at where the cars made contact, Hoshino clips the right rear of the Corvette. That to me illustrates everything; Fassler was overtaking, and Hoshino appeared to not realise that Fassler was there, otherwise he wouldn't have ruined his own race. Especially in NASCAR with rookies, they get lapped multiple times - the advice is simple - hold your line so the leaders know where to go. Which stewarding panel would seriously not blame Hoshino for that?
You can't call an oversized fuel tank a petty infringement
As for the Vette vs Porsche crash, its certainly a harsh penalty but then Fassler should have given more room. If your pass on the outside of the Porsche curves prepare to have an accident. There is only one line through and Hoshino is an amateur not a seasoned Pro like Fassler.