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HomeNewsRipping Yarns: Lowndes and Montoya's checkpoint trouble

Ripping Yarns: Lowndes and Montoya’s checkpoint trouble

V8 SLEUTH is celebrating the festive season with a series of great racing tales from the Motorsport News archives.

Today’s story was told by Craig Lowndes for the 400th edition of MN in 2010.

Our Europe trip in 1997 doing F3000 was quite memorable and some of the funny times that we had over there was driving from circuit to circuit.

Being based in Graz, you were able to drive to nearly 90 percent of the circuits.

For about half of the year, we had to drive (team-mate) Juan-Pablo Montoya around with us, because we had a vehicle and he didn’t.

That was fine, until you got to every checkpoint and it was almost close enough to being strip-searched.

It was one of those things, with him being a Columbian resident, every time you got to a border you had to get pulled over, pull all of the luggage out, put it back in, get back in and continue on our way

It got to a point where we told [team boss] Dr Marko [Helmut] that we were fed up with basically getting strip-searched at every checkpoint, so he ended up getting transferred to travelling in the team bus.

They came across the same issues, so that only lasted one meeting before they kicked him out as well.

Because he was a Columbian resident, I don’t know whether it was alarm bells, but it was definitely an alert that at every checkpoint we went to, we needed to waste a good hour while he got searched.

There was never an issue, of course, it was just the extra time that went on your travel that we encountered to begin with, then the team encountered.

Juan Pablo Montoya, pictured in 2003. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

He ended up getting his own car and travelling on his own, still with the same problems.

It was interesting that having a person from Columbia travelling with you could cause such a drama.

Travelling with him, I don’t think he ever paid a toll and one of his little pet loves was he wanted to try McDonalds in every country we went to.

I don’t know whether was because he wanted to see if it was all the same, but McDonalds was a bit of a fad he had when we were with him.

He was an interesting character, put it that way.

MORE: Craig Lowndes on the V8 Sleuth Podcast

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