Top Gear presenters banned from driving in France

Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond have been banned from driving in France for three months after they were caught speeding.

While filming for the show’s Top Gear Christmas DVD – called ‘The Perfect Road Trip’ – Clarkson and Hammond were allegedly caught travelling at over 87mph in a 56mph limit.

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That means the duo were more than 50kph over the legal speed, which attracts an instant driving ban in France.

In fact, Les Gendarmes were waiting for the pair as they approached a tollbooth – Clarkson in an Aston Martin Vanquish and Hammond in a Porsche 911 GT3 – to issue them with the on-the-spot fine and a ban, effective immediately.

Most French motorways have a limit of 130kph (81mph) in dry conditions, with legal speeds dropping to 110kph (68mph), but it appears the pairing didn’t realise they had entered into a slower 90km (56mph) section.

That meant Clarkson and Hammond – who were thought to be travelling at around 141kph and 143kph respectively – had their collars felt by the French police’s anti-speeding division.

Swooping to their rescue, the Top Gear camera crew had to drive the BBC2 stars, and both the Aston and the Porsche, back home.

In his column in The Sun newspaper, Clarkson announced, “If you are going to break the speed limit, make sure you are not in France.”

The often outspoken Top Gear lead carried on:

“You would be advised to pay attention to what happened next. Because the on-the-spot fine was everything we had in our wallets. We were left penniless. And they took away our driving licences. No court case. No arguing. Nothing.”

It might just be coincidence, but the scenes Hammond and Clarkson were filming were for the new Top Gear DVD, which goes on sale today, Monday 18 November, just in time for Christmas.

There really is no such thing as bad publicity, it seems…

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