The Grand Tour: James May reveals ’challenges’ of filming
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James May, 58, has reacted to Chris Harris’ Alpine A110 bursting into flames while he was filming for Top Gear on Twitter today. The Grand Tour host said he would not be lending his own car to Chris anytime soon, as the latter posed beside the scorched vehicle.
The terrifying moment occurred back in 2017, when a feature being filmed for Top Gear ended in a huge fire. Harris and Eddie Jordan, fortunately, escaped uninjured after the Alpine A110 they were using to take on stage at the Monte Carlo rally went up in flames.
The segment was part of the sixth and final episode of Top Gear’s 25th series, and today the motor expert took a trip down memory lane, sharing a photo from the incident with his social media followers.
He typed: “Someone sent me this today. That day very nearly didn’t end well. Gulp.”
In response, former Top Gear host May, who owns an Alpine A110, replied: “I’m putting this on the wall, to remind me not to lend him mine.”
James left the show in 2016 alongside his co-presenters Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson.
Since then, it has been hosted by Harris, Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff.
Fans flocked to the comments section to compare the incident to Hammond’s terrifying 2006 crash on the set of Top Gear, which saw him being airlifted to hospital.
@CalumBallinger said: “Richard Hammond has some competition I see.”
@AndyJH remarked: “@MrJamesMayThe new @RichardHammond?”
@martinp1986 remarked: “I wouldn’t recommend you lending a car to either Harris or Hammond. Or Clarkson. Jezza will ruin it with his ‘POWER AND SPEED’, Hammond will have it on its roof and Harris… Well, that picture says a lot.”
Speaking on the incident at the time, Harris revealed the car had shown a warning light shortly before bursting into flames.
He wrote for Top Gear magazine: “The point of this bit of the film was to get Eddie to be a bit annoying. He was doing that superbly well and we were crying with laughter. We got to the bottom of the rally stage and the director told us to go back up again, get close behind the tracking car and see what we could do.
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“What became apparent was that the car has just the right amount of torque in second and first gear to do little slides coming out of the hairpins. I was beginning to really enjoy it, but I didn’t want to be a tit. There was nothing to be gained from me pushing it ten tenths.
“This went on for a few minutes, then I came around a right-hander and as I crested quite a long section of road the power just cut a bit. I looked down and the dashboard said, ‘Electrical failure, danger’. I’ve never seen a message like it, but I thought, ‘That’s nothing – it’s just overreacting’.
“So I looked up at the next bend, looked down again and the whole dashboard had gone… and the engine cut completely. We stopped and I said to Eddie, ‘Oh, that’s not good’. Then I looked in the mirror and saw smoke and said, ‘We’re on fire – get out.'”
After inspecting the vehicle, it was discovered there had been a fuel leak in the car that had caused the fire when wind blew across the car.
The Top Gear host continued: “We now know there was a fuel leak under the car, probably between Eddie’s left buttock and my right buttock. When I opened the door, the wind was blowing across the car and the fuel ignited and blew the flames in my door.
“There was a load of fuel that had been dumped on the ground, which is where the flames were coming from at that stage, not the car. Luckily I was wearing overalls, but I didn’t have any gloves – all it did was singe the hairs on my hand.
“What was really frustrating was that we had to just sit there and watch it burn. It began as an entire car with a bit of flame on it, but ended up as molten metal. That probably took five or six minutes. Once fire takes hold it’s very quick, and there’s lots of bangs and pops and fizzes when it goes off.
“I was sad to see an entire vehicle disappear. I didn’t like that at all. I felt no sense of anger towards Alpine because it was a development car and these things happen; I was just glad that we got out fine,” he finished.
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