Allan McNish's Le Mans diary

While there was no on-track action, Friday was still a busy day for autosport.com's columnist Allan McNish, as he tells us in his daily diary

Allan McNish's Le Mans diary

Today was a leisurely morning in that for the second consecutive morning, it was 2am before I got to bed after qualifying but importantly had the luxury of not needing to get to the circuit until 9am.

This morning was Audi's Press Conference which was quite original and not like some of the boring and dare I say, staged, affairs that can occur. All of the drivers talked between themselves on stage - with simultaneous translations for journalists in to a number of languages (but not Scottish!) - and also with Dr Ullrich (Audi's Head of Sport) and Reinhold Joest (Team Director). Some of the topics discussed centred on our plans for the race, our feelings after qualifying and desires. It was then opened up to the floor with the large number of media invited to ask questions.

I was kept quite busy in that apart from the one-to-one interviews with the normal British contingent - including Autosport's Tim Scott and Damien Smith asking me daft questions - only joking guys - I was interviewed by a local Le Mans radio station, a Portuguese motorsport magazine, Brazil TV and the British Audi Magazine - quite a selection!

Had lunch (yes, you've guessed it, pasta), did a TV interview for Speedvision, more radio interviews including BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio Scotland and Scot FM, it was then time for a strategy meeting which you'll not be surprised to learn I'm not going to tell you much about. Basically, topics covered included ground rules, if this happens, if that happens, mulling over different scenarios which could occur in the race so that we're prepared for all events - hopefully. Frank (Biela) and I talked about the start specifically. He's alongside me on the front row and I'm sure we both want to lead into turn one but that it not possible and we won't be making any compromises - there's another 23hrs, 59mins and 50secs of the race remaining.

But both Frank and I will need to be careful of David Brabham. Although he's starting from fourth place on the grid, he is a talented, attacking driver who can never be underestimated at any time and could quite easily be a thorn in Audi's side if you give him half a chance.

I then participated in a Radio Le Mans forum and that gave me the opportunity of asking a Le Mans legend a question I've always wanted answered. Bob Wollek is competing in what must be his 30th Le Mans; it's my fourth; He must be 58 and I'm 30. Just what makes him want to return each year? He answered quite simply that he just loves racing and in particular, at Le Mans. Personally I cannot see myself wanting to do that at his age but it was still refreshing to hear an answer like that - not because of any ego, or prestige - he just loves driving and driving here.

From there it was to one of the nicest aspects of this race - the Drivers' parade in the town centre. All three drivers sit together in the back of an open, veteran car waving to the crowd which numbered over 20,000 I believe. Kids want photos and autographs - it's a carnival atmosphere but made even more special this year for me because I had to go on to a podium to receive a wooden, gold embossed plaque to commemorate mine and Audi's Pole position - a proud moment.

Driving back, there were lots of cheering, clapping fans some even in kilts I noticed - good job it's been another warm day for those guys - and one lady I noticed, not a day less than 90-years-old, was clapping every car passed - that was quite a sight.

Back to the paddock for 8pm, I had a quick dinner (no need to ask what it was) and to be honest, sitting here, on a rare moment on my own gathering these thoughts for you, I feel as if I've done the race already and I'm feeling very, very tired - already its been a long week - and we're just about to start the most important element.

Got an early warm-up on Saturday. Alarm call at 7am, breakfast at 7.15am, straight to the track, for the 9am start and then just wait, and wait, for the 4pm start (remember that's one hour ahead of British time).

During that period it'll be a time for no eyes on the test in April or qualifying this week . . . all eyes will be on the 4pm start. But the car we've got is a good one and I certainly hope that we're able to maintain the qualifying pace.

But as I've seen, Le Mans is a hard place to try and beat . . . well I hope you've enjoyed my build up to the race this week. I've made my Friday report a longer one that normal because I hope you'll understand I'll not get much of an opportunity to write one now until Sunday evening - I hope! However, keep up to date by logging on to this site.

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Hour one: Audis, flames and safety cars

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Hour two: McNish takes lead from Brabham

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