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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Car News: Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear Crew Flee Argentina Over Number-Plate Fracas

The cast and crew of the BBC’s Top Gear
television show were forced to flee
Argentina ahead of schedule due to
controversy over a vehicle license plate
that appeared to reference the 1982
Falklands War. Affixed to a Porsche 928
driven by Jeremy Clarkson, the plate
number in question read “H982 FKL,
which was reportedly perceived by many
Argentinians as a subtle reference to the
still-divisive conflict that occurred
between Argentina and the U.K.
Co-hosts James May and Richard
Hammond, who accompanied Clarkson in
a Lotus Esprit and a Ford Mustang, were
in South America to film the cast
traveling the Patagonia Highway to the
city of Ushuaia located in the
southernmost region of Argentina.
Despite Top Gear and BBC executives
explaining that the plate number was
unintentional, the situation began to
unravel. The U.K.’s Express—where you
can also see a photo of the Porsche in
question—reports that former members
of the Argentinian military stopped the
Porsche 928 before marching to
Clarkson’s hotel and demanding that he
and everyone affiliated with Top
Gear abandon the region.
Many specifics remain unclear, but all
indications are that the show’s stars left
the country via plane three days ahead of
schedule. Tensions remained high as the
remaining crew prepared to exit, the
TG team coming under attack from
protesters who stoned the vehicles while
stopped for refueling. According to the
Express, film-crew members reportedly
told officers at a checkpoint: “We’re
leaving the cars, we don’t want more
problems. Burn them if you want but
we’re getting out of here.” Later, a
member of the Argentinian war-veteran
association partially responsible for
instigating the protest said to the media:
“We told them we couldn’t guarantee
their security if they didn’t leave.”
For what it’s worth, we looked up the
plate number in question on a U.K.
registry decoder, and it indicates that the
registration originated in Maidstone,
England, between August 1990 and July
1991, so the plate very well could be
original to that Porsche. This is just the
latest skirmish for Clarkson, who courted
controversy earlier this year when video
surfaced in which he was alleged to have
uttered a racist remark , a charge that he
denied. At that time, the BBC issued what
he referred to as his “final warning” and
intimated that he would be sacked if he
made “one more offensive remark,
anywhere, at any time.”
Culled from Caranddriver

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