LeBlanc is the 'captain' Top Gear needs, says Chris Evans
Friends star Matt LeBlanc is the "captain" that Top Gear needs going forward, Chris Evans has insisted as he admitted his tenure at the wheel "was not meant to be".
The Radio 2 DJ, who quit Top Gear after one series, said the motoring show and the Friends star "were made for each other" and heaped praise on LeBlanc for his dedication to the programme.
Evans described working on Top Gear as an "honour, privilege and a pleasure" and he had tried his best, but said his stint in the driving seat was "not meant to be".
It comes after weeks of reports that the pair's relationship had broken down amid flagging audience numbers and unfavourable reviews for the flagship BBC Two programme.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Evans said LeBlanc was a "total mensch".
"For me, he is the man. He is the captain Top Gear truly needs going forward, the perfect torso for the rest of TG's limbs.
"Not only does he eat, sleep, breathe and dream engines, propshafts and trail-braking, but the overwhelming quality that struck me about him is that he's just such a pro.
"The whole time I worked with him, he never once looked at the clock, was never late on set, knew his lines inside out and back to front and, most importantly on such an intense production, he always had time for everyone, especially the crew.
"The simple truth is he and Top Gear were made for each other."
Evans said working on the programme for a year had been a "dream" and "the Top Gear ship has been steadily refloated" following the departure of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.
He also paid tribute to the production team for their work on bringing the popular programme back on screen.
"The Top Gear gang are the most driven (forgive the pun) and dedicated I have ever worked with," he said.
"There is nothing those guys won't do to make every second of on-air content shine to its maximum potential."
The BBC said it has no plans to replace Evans when Top Gear returns for a 24th season.
However attention now turns to Clarkson, Hammond and May, whose new venture with Amazon, the Grand Tour, is expected to be released in the Autumn.