Saturday, June 7, 2014

LE MANS: 24 Heurs prior - Audi survives Knife fight with Peugeot...



Another story, same outcome... As I guess I’ve gotta cut down upon my scribblins lengthege, eh? (Which I DON’T think I’ve managed to do so far...) As Gee Wally! Or is it “Symone,” Justin or whoever? Lookie ‘Dar - another story late to thee party, as the traditional signaling of the summer's ray's decreasing once again lurks upon the horizon...

2011 Thought Bubbles
I began watching my taped coverage of last year’s; Err two years ago, or is it three? Guess time really does FLY when you’re having fun, eh? ‘Twenty-eleven 24 Heurs du Mans after the Vancouver Canuks had gone down 3-0 on a short-handed goal by those devious Boston Bruins during the first Power-play for the ‘KuhNucks with just a few ‘My-nutes remaining in the second period of Game-6, or was it Game-7? 

Thus upon giving up on duh ‘KuhNucks in disgust, I began watching the 30mins Pre-race banter on SPEED which along with other quips saw Justin Bell talking to whom I affectionaly call “Symone Pagenoe” (Simon Pagenaud) who claimed that he hadn’t been going for outright speed during Qualifying; Huh? As ‘Symone had qualified P3 behind the front row being locked-out by the Audi R18 TDi Panzerwagon’s; Ja Volt! As apparently Simon was being the master of understatement.

But I found it funny to hear Justin note how a whole Grandstand was chanting ‘C-Monn for the French Racing Star; as it was quite amusing that they didn’t talk to ley Ham-burgle-leur, nee LeMans, France Homeboy Sebastain Bourdais, and also known Stateside as ‘SeaBass... Oh Whale, guess he’s not Top Banana at Peugeot, eh?

As they (SPEED) also interviewed the very amusing ‘NickM, aka Nicolas Minassian; DAMN! It’s hard to believe it was so many years ago when he was the Cheepster’s Punching Bag as a rookie IndyCar Piloto, eh? As in does anybody remember when he ran the Indy 500 in Twenty-oh-One as part of ‘Cheep’s replacement package Dealio for letting ‘MAC MONTOYA (Juan Pablo) go Across-the-Pond to Sir Frank’s Team Willie outfit. As in Minassian was Bruno Junqueira’s Wingman at TCGR after Junqueira bested the Frenchman for the F3000 International title in 2000.

But the pair of rookie Indy Racing League piloto’s were hard pressed to defend Montoya’s win for Chip Ganassi, as Minassian got dumped in favour of Memo Gidley after a rather disappointing month ‘O May. (When it actually was a whole month vs. one week...)

As obviously I’m hard pressed to remember much about the race upon scribblin' these final thoughts some two years later; or is it three? (As this story's sat dormant so long that A-L-L of the Speed.com internets links have done gone  away with the advent of the TV Channel and now the website NO longer existing!)

Japan's only winning Le Mans racecar, the Mazda 787B. (Image source: mazdainthenews.com)
Although I seem to recall that “Doctor McDreamy,” nee Gray’s Anatomy super hunk Patrick Dempsey had the privilege of taking the Mazda 787B 4-rotor prototype beast around the 8.5-mile legendary circuit for some celebratory laps on Thursday prior to the race in honour of it being Mazda’s twentieth anniversary of winning Le Mans with Johnny Herbert, Volker Weidler  and Bertrand Gachot at the keyboard... While Herbert also took his old steed for a  trip down memory lane at Le Mans, as Mazda is still the only Japanese manufacturer to win the race...


As it was this race where I’d caught Justin Bell’s hilarious “Crowd Crawl” antics and subsequent humour from the Speed Geeks ‘bout it being Monsieur Bell’s final race before he  went off into the wilderness to write books that got me to corral Justin into doing an interview for this blog.


Yet I do recall rootin’ mightily for Symone to pull off the upset victory for Peugeot - as the Frenchman teamed with le ‘Hamburgular  and Pedro Lamy chased down the lone surviving Audi TDi R18 No. 2 racecar of Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fasller and Andre Lotterer - finishing a miniscule 13.8-seconds adrift of Lotterer for the fourth closest finish ever.

And remember that thee Scottish Terrier, aka Alan McNish had a horrific shunt in the races first hour whilst trying to over take a GTE  Ferrari 458 Italia, before the second Audi with “Rocky” (Mike Rockenfeller) behind the wheel suffered a frightingly horrible looking nighttime shunt - he too getting caught out by a slower Ferrari 458 which left Audi with just the lone relatively untested trio of Treluyer, Fasller and Lotterer to hold off the might of the Peugeot Sport factory triumberant for the remaining two-thirds of the race...

Obviously I wanted Pagenaud to win since I’m such a HUGE fan ‘O his! Ever since he kicked ARSE in the American Le Mans Series after his short lived Champ Car career... Although I cannot say that I was pulling quite as much for Bourdais, whilst Lamy’s claim-to-fame? Is breaking both of his legs during a practice shunt at Silverstone for the long departed Benetton F1 Team; YIKES!
, Audi’s win was the first from Pole-position since 2003, when “Mr. Le Mans,” (Tom Kristensen) took his Audi derived Bentley Speed-8 (assisted by Reinhold Joest) with co-drivers Dindo Capello and Guy Smith to the podium's top-step, as it was Benoit Treluyer capturing Pole position this year.

And  I was also extremely happy for the little team that did in the GTE-Am (Amateur) category of the French classic, as it was none other then Robertson Racing with its Ford GTR, paying homage to those iconic Ford GT-40’s of yesteryear... As not only did David & Andrea Robertson celebrate their wedding anniversary on the podium at Circuit de la Sarthe, they also made history by becoming the very first husband-wife duo to do so.


And making further history was the fact that  Leena Gade became the very first ever female Race-engineer to win at Le Mans, which I didn’t discover until the following year.


Meanwhile Chevrolet celebrated its 100th birthday in fine fashion with its iconic Corvette's sweeping top honours in both of the GT classes...


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