French hillclimbs are like any other in that the object is to get to the top in as short a time as possible, however the running of the event is slightly different to what most overseas drivers are used to.
Here is a brief run-down of what to expect at Saint Goueno.
When it is your turn there will be an announcement in English “Masters to the grid”. Exit the paddock as a group. On arrival at the pre-grille you will be greeted by a marshal who will give you the number of your grid space, park up in the relevant box, the numbers are painted on the road. Expect to wait around for quite a while, you will then be told to start your engines and follow the clerk of the course the two miles down to the start line.
Once in the start line que keep well to the right to maintain access for emergency vehicles.
When directed to the start (Depart)line you will be lined up by a marshal in the one meter box, it is not a precision affair. If you study the quick locals you will notice that they always hang as far back as possible to get the benefit of slight launch through the beam.
The light sequence is red, orange and green. Once the green is lit you have 10 seconds to drop the clutch and go, if you don’t you lose your run. If you stall the clock keeps ticking even if your rear wheels have not crossed the start line.
After crossing the finish (Arrivé) slow down and make your way back to the paddock, just keep turning right. Note that on the return road (Circuit de repli) you will pass by several houses, the residents have the right of vehicle access so beware.
Remember if you catch the car in front you will be expected to overtake, he or she will be given blue flags to let him know you are there, you will not get another run if baulked.
If you are obstructed under yellow flags you do not get another run.
If you are red flagged you do get another run.
Flags used on French hillclimbs are as follows:
National . . . . StartChequered . . . FinnishRed . . . Stop
Blue . . . Tells slower driver to allow faster car to overtake
Yellow (one waved) . . . Reduce speed, be prepared to take avoiding action, danger ahead
Yellow (two waved) . . . Reduce speed, be prepared to take avoiding action, road ahead partially or totally blocked
Yellow/Red . . . Slippery surface ahead ie oil
Green . . . Used at marshal posts to signify course is open or has been returned to a usable state after an incident
White . . . Usually reserved for an intervention vehicle