F1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart denies supercar crash claim

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The Independent Online

Racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart today denied he was behind the wheel during a supercar test drive crash which left a repair bill of more than £300,000.

The Pagani Zonda S, which can reach speeds of 220mph, was badly damaged when a professional driver took it out near Aberdeen last September, insurers Aviva said.

The £528,000 car spun out of control on a narrow country road before hitting a telegraph pole and smashing through a fence.

It has now been sent for repair to Modena in Italy, where the vehicles are made.

The former Formula 1 world champion was named as the driver of the car in a newspaper report today.

But Sir Jackie's private secretary Oliver Anderson today said the motor racing legend was not involved.

Mr Anderson said: "He was not in the country. He was not there. He would have been in Switzerland."

The supercar's owner Gareth Jones told the Press and Journal newspaper his car was on a test run for a magazine article.

Mr Jones, who lives near Ellon in Aberdeenshire, more than 20 miles from Aberdeen, said: "The roads were quite greasy and wet and it was adjacent to a farm, so it was muddy.

"He (the driver) was mortified. He was extremely upset and very sorry. I was upset but delighted that it could be repaired."

Mr Jones told the paper the driver was a "household name".

The final bill could be more than £300,000 once all the repairs are completed, a spokesman for Aviva said. The company said it is thought to be one of the highest ever pay-outs in the UK.

Yesterday, an Aviva spokesman said: "This is the biggest insurance pay-out we have had for repairs to a private car in the UK. This is out-of-the-ordinary for an insurer.

"An Aviva representative was asked to inspect a badly-damaged supercar after the insurer's policy-holder, who had been test-driving the supercar, lost control on a narrow country road and collided side-on with a telegraph pole before careering through a fence."

The insurance claim was lodged by the test driver, not the owner of the car.

Work on the vehicle, which is made out of carbon fibre, titanium and aircraft aluminium, is expected to be completed by May.