Player caught driving at 135mph in Spanish capital alongside team-mates – including one mystery driver who evaded capture
Footballers and their fast cars have been a regular source of headlines. But now a 160mph race between Audi- and Porsche-driving Real Madrid players on the Spanish capital's outer ring road has left striker Karim Benzema facing a possible jail sentence and other team-mates facing hefty fines.
Benzema was caught driving his Audi RS5 sports car at 135mph along a four-lane M40 road that has a 70mph limit. The player is due to appear in court – and faces a prison sentence of up to six months – but he was not reported to be the fastest of the Real Madrid racers. That record went to the unnamed driver of a Porsche that, like Benzema's Audi, was being leased by the Spanish football club.
A police camera clocked the car going at 162mph – not far short of the 185mph top speeds of Formula One racing cars – but failed to take a usable picture of the mystery car and no charges were brought.
Police decided not chase the two cars, part of a group of five driven by Real Madrid players on their way home from a match in Granada, on the basis that it would be too dangerous.
A few kilometres later, however, they pulled over five Real Madrid cars and breathalysed the drivers. All were below the alcohol limit, but midfielder Michael Essien paid a spot fine for driving at 105mph.
Spain's association of road traffic victims welcomed the case against Benzema, who has a history of motoring infringements: he ran a high-powered car into a tree in Madrid in 2009; was involved in an accident between a Porsche and a Lamborghini on the island of Réunion, also in 2009; and was fined by police in Ibiza in 2011 for speeding in what was reported to be a race between his Porsche, a Ferrari and a Lamborghini.
"Whoever breaks the law must pay, especially if they are a famous footballer," Ana Noveya, president of Spain's Stop Accidents group told El País newspaper.
Several Real Madrid players own Porsches, including defender Sergio Ramos, who was one of those stopped and breathalysed.