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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; tele­ tt-rasalkhaimah) from £730 per day. Rooms from £130: wal­dor­fas­to­ria. com/driving­ex­pe­ri­ences; 00 1 800 925 3673. For more in­for­ma­tion on Dubai, see vis­it­

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