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Top Gear, BBC2 - Sunday 9 February: TV Review

By jspiteri  |  Posted: February 10, 2014

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The car played second fiddle to the scenery in last night's Top Gear - the little red Alfa 4C was a perfect fit for pocket-sized Hammond who likened the car's nimble handling to 'a kitten chasing a spider' as he raced along winding roads amid northern Italy's impossibly perfect scenery.

Yes, it was another racing challenge for the TG lads but how could they possibly come up with anything new for this segment of the motoring show?

Last night's duel looked, on the face of it, to be more of the same with the boys accepting the challenge to race the length of Lake Como - Hammond by road in the Alfa and Clarkson cross country on a quad. So far, so last series - until Clarkson, emerging from his cross country trek on to the lake shore, just kept on going and his quad transformed into a jet ski. Cue James Bond soundtrack and some absolutely stunning shots of Clarkson powering across Lake Como, catching up with the road-bound Alfa, even racing a catamaran ferry at one point.

Emerging at the lakeside hotel finish line in soaked white shirt, a la Mr Darcy but minus the sex appeal, Clarkson played fair and for the love of Alfa allowed Hammond to take the chequered flag.

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James May meanwhile tackled the less glamorous subject of armoured vehicles in Afghanistan and discovered how the introduction of improved PMVs (protective military vehicles) such as the superbly named warthog has reduced casualties in the war zone while giving May the chance to don some combats and blend nicely into the sandy beige landscape.

Back to Blighty and Clarkson's jaunt to Belgium with the Maclaren P1 sent his usual stream of analogy-laden descriptive powers into hyperdrive likening the £866,000 super car to being... 'made of stuff from the future'.. 'a game changer'.. 'mind-blowingly fast'.. while its ability to change from electric powered town car to a race car which on the track at Spa can 'rip a hole through time' was akin to 'weaponising a wind farm'.

Jeremy is so besotted with this icon of British engineering that should the new Porsche super car prove to be faster than the P1 on the Top Gear track he has promised to change his name to Jennifer - now that has to be a must watch episode.

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