THE Top Gear team has been forced to flee Argentina after angry people threw stones at them in the wake of the Falklands War number plate row.The BBC cast and crew abandoned their cars at the roadside after a crowd became enraged at a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL.Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May were escorted to the airport and left for Chile three days earlier than scheduled after protests led by Falklands veterans began outside their hotel.A local paper covered the attacks, reporting that there were "people injured and police cars damaged".The outrage first started when local Argentinian officials claimed that the Porsche's license plate was a deliberate reference to the 1982 war between Argentina and the UK over the Falkland Islands.The BBC has confirmed that the Top Gear crew has left Argentina but declined to comment on the latest reports.Andy Wilman, Top Gear's executive producer, has insisted that the issue was merely an unfortunate coincidence, and that the notoriously controversial Clarkson was not intending to cause political problems."Top Gear production purchased three cars for a forthcoming programme," he told the Guardian. "To suggest that this car was either chosen for its number plate, or that an alternative number plate was substituted for the original is completely untrue."
James May has defended himself and the rest of the Top Gear team over a controversial numberplate which allegedly poked fun at the Falklands War.The Top Gear presenter said the show would never 'mock people about their war casualties' and insisted the numberplate, which sparked protests in Argentina, was entirely coincidental.
The show's crew had to leave the country during filming after trouble erupted when it emerged they were using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL.May told Absolute Radio's Christian O'Connell they bought the car - complete with the number plate - in the UK because it was the best available vehicle of its type and he said he had not even noticed the plate until it was mentioned online.
He said: 'How could we have done it deliberately? All we've done is buy some secondhand cars.
'It's actually meaningless if you look at it. You have to want to see the meaning.'
The team from the BBC2 show were in South America filming a special on a remote highway passing through Chile and Argentina.
May said: 'We do muck about but we weren't going there to mock people about their war casualties.'He said they decided to change the plate once they had finished filming on the country's roads, but it had not been possible to do it earlier.
He said: 'Go outside and change the number plate on your car and then see what happens the next time you meet a policeman. You just can't do that.'
Another twist in the Jeremy Clarkson argie-bargie controversy.
The BBC claims that the original registration plate H982 FKL displayed on Clarkson’s Porsche while he was filming Top Gear in Argentina was coincidental, and not a reference to the Falkland Islands war as aggrieved locals believed.
But there are now claims that BEll END, the registration plate found inside the car — which was smashed up by an angry mob — was not a derogatory slang word as originally thought, but a reference to End of Belgrano.