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John Surtees drives through Tunnel

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Former Formula One star John Surtees has made history by becoming the first person to drive an electric sports car the full length of the Channel Tunnel.

Car insurance firms could have been monitoring the event in which the racing veteran drove a British built Ginetta G50EV electric sports car prototype along Eurotunnel's service tunnel, which was opened for the first time to mark its 15th anniversary.

The former world champion, who maintained speeds below 50kph (31mph), said that "speed was the last thing involved" in the venture, which was part of the 37th annual Burlington Beaujolais Run.

Surtees, the only person to have won in both Formula One and Grand Prix motorcycle races, said: "It was a casual drive, shall we say.

"It was the first time for me, and the first time it's actually been carried out. To come through in an electric car was another first."

Surtees said that he had kept a "stiff upper lip" after his 18-year-old son Henry's death in July this year. He paid tribute to his son, who was struck on the head by a wheel during a Formula Two race.

Henry had claimed his first F2 podium finish just the day before he died.

© Press Association 2009