Sunday, February 15, 2009
Out to launch
There are some things you’re always supposed to remember, be it starting school, learning to rider a bike or your first kiss. Well I can add another one to that, and you don’t have to worry about nose-avoidance tilting or whether you’ll accidentally get entwined in anyone’s braces. Specifically, it’s any budding car journo’s first launch. And mine just took place.
I nearly didn’t make it thanks to an unbelievably hellish trip round the M25 which saw me take nearly three hours to cover the twenty or so miles to Heathrow. There I met Peugeot UK PR bosses Ian Sedgwick and Andy Sutton over breakfast, before boarding our flight to Paris.
The waiting taxi whisked us from Charles de Gaulle airport into the heart of the city – coincidentally along the very road that featured in the opening part of the infamous driving movie Rendezvous. After a brief orange juice in a café on the opposite side of la Grande-Armée we crossed into the firm’s Paris headquarters. There I was introduced to Bruno Famin, the technical director of Peugeot Sport division and none other than Christian Peugeot – heir to the family business.
We sat through a predictably corporate presentation at the start of the ceremony, where the drivers were announced and, surprisingly, Peugeot declared it wanted to win the 2009 Le Mans 24 hours. Then two very pleasant young ladies and a group of less aesthetically gifted middle-aged executives took the wraps off the car. I tried to get a photo of the exact moment it happened, but conscious of the fact I was there to write the words – unlike the snappers whose mortgages actually depend on it – I stayed back. Still, holding the camera aloft, I did manage to get the one grainy, out of focus shot, which you can see below. And it captures the exact moment I went through this rite of passage. Here’s to many more.