The Race to Monte Carlo was in Series 4 episode 1.
While doing the news, James and Richard mentioned how fast the trains of nowadays in France have become and how it could even be quicker than a plane to the South of France, let alone a car.
Jeremy rightfully replied with swattle, rubbish, and that no train can be faster than cars, and the challenge was born on that moment.
Jeremy would drive the (then) new Aston Martin DB9, while Hammond and May went on a series of busses, a metro and trains. Only rules, Jezza can't use any form of trains, his opponents no form of car, so no taxi allowed.
They started at their studios at 8. While walking with heavy bags for 2 miles to get to a bus stop, James and Richard talked to eachother how he wouldn't stand a chance, while Jeremy set off and stormed past them, beeping the horn. During his drive over the smaller A and B roads, he lets us know how much he adores the interior, design, features and moderness of the car. And by the time the boys got to the end of the lane, Jeremy had covered 40.
For not long he covered down the motorway, everything going fine while James and Richard stil awaited their bus, but in the outskirts of Dover, to get to the Seacat, a very fast ferry that takes 50 minutes to cross the channel into France, he reached
traffic, like a Poolish lorry with Letvian milk, clogging up the roads. The jams were so bad, that Hammond and May had gone up to Guildford by bus in the time it had taken the Aston to get to the docks. Jeremy had worried that he might get outta the race by missing the ferry, but he made it in time.
Richard and James were baffled he was already at the Channel, but were still confident and James had some nerve, told him they would be 240 kilometres ahead of him in a few hours.
Clarkson entered the ship and laughed how they still thought they could win.
From Guildford station they took a small blue train, that got to London Waterloo by 11.15, but due to the fenomenal speed of the ship, the DB9 already disembarked, his lead had become bigger.
While Clarkson drove off on smaller roads toward the French motorway, James and Hammond got on to the Eurostar Train, still trusting in their belief that this is where they will catch up, since they're on a big train, and they first had to deal with slow and cold busses and trains, and heavy bags. The Eurostar thundered off with great speed.
Then Jeremy entered the A26, where he opened the taps and made the Aston burst out delightful noise, accelerating it up and making usage of its power, discovering that at the same time it's pretty gently when settling down. After a time, he started to attract attention, by French police. They come alongside, encouraging him to give it the beans, while he calls May on the train, who first thinks he's getting stopped but then telling Jeremy he made it up. Jeremy gives in to the gendarms request and pushes the Aston forward.
At the same time the Eurostar train pounds on,Richard explains why they will be the victor, since he claims they will hit 320 km/u, 100, through the tunnel and 320 all the way across France.
Meanwhile Jeremy rings them up again, May repliying in French, asking them where they are. They tell him they're in comfort on the Eurostar, and will have first class lunch.
At the map we can see that the Eurostar is still only close to Maidstone, but going rapidly towards the Channel. Jeremy's progress is shown far greater and in the time they went this far, the DB9 already past Reims, but Jeremy now has to get some petrol at a filling station since the fuel warning light is on. He really rushes it, and even has trouble finding the fuel fillercap button. The train enters the tunnel at that moment, and Jeremy now stresses out, getting mad about the stupid place to put a fillercap release, and shouting 'come on' wanting the petrol to fill in more quickly.
Then, the Eurostar arrives in France, James and Richard being certain they're going to get him, while Jeremy gets back on the motorway, finding it rediculous to put a 60km/u sign at the end.
While the Eurostar develops speed and heads in the direction of Paris, James and Richard get their laptop to show the results of the tracking device of the DB9. Its shown Jeremy goes with 135 km/u. They will be doing 320 km/u, so they think he hasn't got a chance.
In not that much time, the train approaches the capital city, and they see how Jeremy is already 172 miles south of them, got past Troyes and is now headed east, and they realize their cockyness is short lived. Still the progress of the train seems bigger and the gap isn't as big as before.
They still have to go through the city, to change trains. They're worrying about getting the next one on time, and fearing images of Jeremy arriving before them. While they walk across the station, Jeremy sees the time, it's late in the afternoon and knows they arrive in Paris. He calculates the fuel consumption, happy to see the DB9 is a proper drinker for being an Aston. In the meantime they face the rule of not using a taxi, so get and underground system, that isn't very comprehensible. They also have to get to the TGV within 50 minutes.
Clarkson drives further south. The opponents are having issues since their schedule is tight. Soon there's only 15 minutes left and they are still on the underground. James never runs on telly, so that slows Richard down, who gets agitated. The orang-otuang rings them up just to bother them and because he's curieus. They just have minutes, and Jeremy mocks them, saying they will lose the race if they don't catch their connection.
It even comes so far that they lose eachother, and Jeremy laughs while plowing ahead.
They have made it. They're now aboard the fast train. Still full of smugness, Richard boasts they'll accelerate to 320 km/u and leave him behind in a dust. Jeremy tells them to get that out of their head, and Richard rebounces still 300. Jeremy responds with 'not as fast as a DB9', laughing, Richard replies 'a lot faster than you could be going'. He says: 'enjoy your trip, im gonna have a bottle of Diet Coke now.' At last, the train departs and gains large velocity in little time.
While the TGV now flies quickly over the rails, James tells Hammond the story about Woolf Barnato, a Bentley Boy who raced a pastorish Blue Train from Cannes to London in a Bentley Speed Six, meanwhile mocking Jeremy's appearance compared to Barnato's. The Aston and train now really onto speed, the battle gets intense. It is shown that Clarkson has passed Dijon and the train is doing really well, getting really far away from Paris in not that much time. It's making up for much of it's loss earlier. But the car is now halfway into the journey, and Clarkson reviews how comfortable the Aston Martin is, also how great the gearbox works. He launches the car at great speed, by pushing D, dropping it into third gear.
At that point the car gains great distance. In the train, which is zipping by, the two guys are amazed by Jeremy's location on the map, wondering how he managed to do that, only saying that he must have absolutely kicked its tail and the car is going really fast, as if on fire, since Lyon.
Clarkson is also pleased with the heavy, steering, that flatters the driver by making it feel like it's your job, not the machine's. And that you can feel there's a big lump of an engine in the front.
The train now zooming across a blue bridge, breaths down the car's neck. Unfortunately, thanks to speed limits, the TGV manages to get past our hero and overtake the lead, to much content of two of it's passengers. This happened near Valence, only 200 miles from the finish line.
At this point it gets really interesting, and more heated as well. The race is really a race here. Jeremy encourages himself and titles this day as a big take in his lifebox, taking it very serious. So, he's still deteremined.
He sees a way to win this thing. After getting past Orange soon, he knows where his chance lies. As the train continues to speed through reaching past Marseille, he is aware that they have to go further than he needs to go, and the fact that they are on a train, which will wiggle around where it wants to go, not where they want to go. He won't need fuel stops and can also proceed directly on the wide, empty three lane freeway.
The map also shows that the Aston actually manages to get equal with the train at some point, in terms of being west from the target. Jeremy moves on to the twisty motorway, changing the character of the DB9 completely. The train has more corners to deal with though. And with 100 miles to go, it slows down along the coast, making the gap shrink, so the train was still ahead at this point.
Several moments later, the two arrive in Nice. James really gets impatient, pacing. They need to change train once more.
Jeremy hurries and it looks close. The denouement is in sight now, as the train reaches Monte Carlo and the two guys get out, the DB9 is on the N402, just minutes and a couple of miles away from Monaco.
He reaches it and moves through the city, the boys meanwhile having trouble with their heavy bags, still need to walk to the Casino Square, Cafe de Paris, while the car now roars after midnight through the city.
Richard wondering why he didn't bring a map, exhorting James to get a move on, but to his unhappy discovery finds the gorgeous beauty parked. Seconds later, James finds out as well, reacting with a disappointed 'oh cock'. It turns out Jeremy had beaten the train with more than 15 minutes.
So In the end the Aston was able to secure victory, no matter that it was restricted by speed limits. With this, first proof was made that cars are waaaaay better than public transport, no matter how fast a train can go, they'll never be a match for personal transport.
And it was an inspiration for many other great epic race still to come.
The race ends with a short conclusion from Jeremy about the DB9, and why he prefers it above its rivals, so it isn't just better than a train.