x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Taking several turns for the worse

Our intrepid reporter goes along for the ride with a Red Bull drift driver.

I watched the driver slide around as if he were on ice, whipping the muscle car from right to left before completing a full 360° and then fishtailing off into the centre of the car park.

Then it was time to get in.

It all seemed quite straightforward: sit in the leather seat, put on the crash helmet, fasten the seat belt and give the rally champion and Red Bull driver Abdo Feghali the thumbs up to get the revs going.

Within seconds, the engine roared and we were catapulted across the car park, then jolted to a near stop before I had a chance to see whether we were going left or right.

If the bonnet had flown up, Feghali would have got us to our destination without any problems because he did not drive straight-on for the entire ride.

At that point I found a flaw with the Chevrolet Camaro: there were no handles to hang on to - or maybe a previous passenger had ripped them off.

Instead, I grabbed the dashboard for balance. Feghali laughed as I discovered the dash wasn't designed for that.

I thought he should be focusing on the driving as we neared an obstacle. I pushed back into the seat, my breathing faster and my T-shirt wetter despite the full-blast air conditioning.

Feghali continued to fishtail and terrify his passenger. It was relentless: left, right, left and right again - finishing with three 360°s.

When he stopped and my internal organs came to a standstill ,he said: "I am so glad you enjoyed that."

He can also read minds.

* Eugene Harnan