VIEW IN THE WING MIRROR
district. The city’s collection of brash landmarks loomed large on either side: the Burj al Arab on the left; the Burj Khalifa on the right; the ludicrous Dubai Frame off in the middle distance.
But soon, the buildings began to thin out, the traffic started to dissipate, and with it the speed limit raised. We were soon cruising at 87mph – enough to get a feel for the sheer, unadulterated power of the Lambo.
This was a wholly different side to Dubai: sand dunes undulating into the distance and camels ambling along by the side (and sometimes down the centre) of the road. We passed the stables of the Emirate’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, where some of the world’s best racing horses are kept.
I looked to my right to see a pair of thoroughbreds galloping through the sand, spurred on by their jockeys. It was a brief moment in which the two faces of Dubai – proud tradition and brash modernity – were blurred. But then the stallions disappeared over the lip of a sand dune, and I was jerked from my reverie by an itinerant camel wandering out into the road, causing me to swerve violently in order to avoid its half-ton of bulk crashing through the windscreen. What’s more, there’s a “break ’em you buy ’em” rule in the UAE when it comes to camels, and naturally every one that winds up as roadkill turns out to be a prizewinning thoroughbred carrying a suitably hefty price tag.
After an hour or so of adrenalinpumping speed, we pulled over to swap cars. I’d started in a nippy red two-wheel drive, but now I switched to the sleek, unrelentingly speedy Performante – the fastest of the group. I let the other cars drive off a little way, then pressed the accelerator to the floor.
Alas, my stint in the fastest of the cars was… well, stinted. First off, it started to rain. It was little more than a drizzle, but the lack of drainage meant that gargantuan puddles soon formed across the roads. I had to take it carefully, and to make matters worse, passing SUV drivers seemed to take cruel delight in overtaking as fast as they could, submerging the car in a deluge of murky water in the process. I suddenly felt a long way from the admiring gazes and flashing cameras of the Palm.
Roadworks and the Dubai rush hour hampered the rest of the journey back – my one burst of speed was swiftly followed by a stern warning from my instructor, who’d seen a speed camera flash in his rear-view.
A slightly ignominious end to the experience? Perhaps. But such is the life of a Lambo driver. And for every moment of traffic, every speed bump, every maniac behind the wheel of an SUV, there’s a glorious stretch of road on which to let loose, or a strange and surreal sight to rubberneck at. Is there a more fitting way to see Dubai?
The supercar experience is available at Waldorf Astoria Ras al Khaimah (00 971 7 203 5555; telegraph.co.uk/ tt-rasalkhaimah) from £730 per day. Rooms from £130: waldorfastoria. com/drivingexperiences; 00 1 800 925 3673. For more information on Dubai, see visitdubai.com