Haute Saintonge

The circuit opened in the summer of 2009 and a couple of LoT members have visited already and given good feedback.

The following is feedback has been kindly passed on by Rodger John. The circuit is controlled by lights and CCTV and barriers are set well back so you can confidently say that it is a safe circuit. There is just one blind crest over the start finish line but they have a 200m board for the following corner. The new surface is obviously grippy, and unlike Ecuyers, the cambers seem right. I have no idea how it would drain on a wet day. The kerbs are low, so you can cut the esses easily.

You join the circuit running downhill on the outside of curve 1. Check mirrors for circulating cars entering this curve at high speed. Build up your speed along a straight of about 600m, check mirrors for other cars on faster laps than yourself.

The track crests before a sharp right hand hairpin, check for a green signal to make sure the track is clear. Judging you braking point here can be tricky, but if you are too soon, you can cut the kerb easily and a bit too late, there is plenty of track to run wide, get it just right and it feels good.

The circuit begins to climb as you enter a short straight before a medium left. A cone on the right will mark you turn-in point. When completed, keep to the outside of the track and check for the green signal to show the next section is clear. You then approach a climbing double left; after the first allow the car to drift wide to the outside kerb before aiming for the left, right esses. These can be cut easily as the kerbs are smooth and do not disturb the car; but, being concrete, they may well be slippy when wet. You then enter the Parabolica turning through a full 180°. The road falls away at this point, so apply too much gas and you will drift to the outside of the track, There is a flat slight right-left at the bottom of the incline before you climb uphill along the next straight.

The next section is perhaps the most exhilarating of the circuit; You climb fairly steeply to crest the hill, immediately beyond the hill you enter the fastest corner of the track. Check that the safety light is showing green, position your car just to the left of centre of the track; as you crest the hill a cone on the right hand side shows the limit of the first part of the chicane; aim to be near this and the car will be set up for an easy line into the big-radius downhill curve. The chicane only sets-up the entry and prevents overtaking. There are 200m; 100m and 50m boards for the curve. Once you are confident with your grip levels through this curve, you can brake late, and only lightly, perhaps at 50m and drop a gear and then just ride the curve feeling the grip as you gently adjust your throttle opening. After the apex, accelerate and the car will drift wide to the left to make a good exit onto the back straight; ready for the excitement to start all over again.

If you are exiting the circuit, the owners ask that you do not lose speed until you enter the deceleration lane as you may be unsighted from a following car that could arrive very quickly with obvious consequences.

To sum up, a very enjoyable circuit, also handy for anyone who fancies a few extra days in the Dordogne.

Words kindly provided by Rodger John.

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