Where is Vanina?

Vanina Ickx, 24 Hours of Le Mans 2003.

Vanina Ickx has just finished a stint at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A couple of seconds ago, her team-mate jumped behind the wheel of their Porsche 911 GT3 to rush back in the race. Vanina has just taken off her helmet, wiped her face, and like a boxer sitting in a corner of the ring, she’s gathering her strength back. Her mind is elsewhere. Where is Vanina? Here, at the back of her pit, in front of my camera? Looks are deceiving. She confides later that at that very instant, she is still mentally out on the race track, at over 200km an hour, in the fury of the race, replaying every second: the images and sounds, the overtakings, the frights, the last-minute brakings, those turns taken too wide, the little mistakes and the audacious moves. This is a moment of pause captured on film, whereby one passes from one world to another, in limbo; a slow return to the present.

Vanina Ickx sort d’un relais aux 24 Heures du Mans. Il y a quelques secondes, son coéquipier a bondi au volant de la Porsche 911 GT3 pour s’élancer à son tour dans l’arène. Vanina vient d’ôter son casque, de s’éponger et, comme un boxeur dans son coin du ring, elle récupère. Son regard est ailleurs. Où est Vanina ? A l’arrière de son stand, face à mon objectif ? En apparence seulement. À cet instant, m’a-t-elle confié, elle est toujours en piste, à plus de 200 à l’heure, dans la fureur de son relais dont elle se repasse tout le film, les images et les sons, les dépassements, les frayeurs, les freinages tardifs, les sorties trop larges, les erreurs, les audaces. Captation d’un flottement, du passage d’un monde à un autre, de limbes, d’un lent retour au présent.

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