KRIS SMITH WEL­COME TO THE JUN­GLE

HOW I ROLLED

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - Maserati Qu­at­tro­porte In­finiti QX80

Bri­tish TV per­son­al­ity, male model and for­mer Su­per League player Kris Smith is used to a com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment but noth­ing pre­pared him for driv­ing in Syd­ney.

Smith, an am­bas­sador for In­finiti, scoots around town in a sporty Q60 S coupe and a QX80 large SUV. “The QX80 feels like you are driv­ing your couch and when you put your foot down it re­ally moves,” Smith says. “I pulled up next to a reg­u­lar SUV at the lights and (the QX80) made it look like tiny.”

Hav­ing a big car comes in handy when deal­ing with Syd­ney traf­fic. Smith puts its cut­throat na­ture down to com­pet­i­tive­ness.

He reck­ons Aus­tralians won’t give an inch in traf­fic: “When peo­ple want to turn right no one slows down to let them through no mat­ter how much traf­fic is backed up be­hind them,” he says.

“You can sit in a side street for hours and no one will let you in, some­times it is best just to go the long way round.”

When the heav­ens open, the whole game changes. “When the rain comes down a lit­tle, the brake lights come on. Ev­ery­one just slows down af­ter a few drops. It is crazy.”

How­ever, af­ter his ex­ten­sive stint in the jun­gle on he found that he even missed “peo­ple get­ting on the horn and throw­ing the mid­dle fin­ger”.

Al­ways con­fi­dent be­hind the wheel, Smith bought his first car be­fore he got his li­cence.

He signed his ini­tial foot­ball con­tract when he was 16 in Britain — then bought a new Rover 200 for his par­ents.

He says they could never af­ford a new car and it was his way of say­ing thanks for driv­ing him to train­ing for years.

He even­tu­ally get to drive his first car, thanks in large part to his mum. “We al­ways had man­u­als grow­ing up and my mum taught me how to work the gears,” he says. “She used to let me change gears while she was driv­ing and she would work the clutch. I got so good at it that she wouldn’t have to tell me when to change gears — I could tell by her feet.”

When it came time to learn, he needed only a few lessons to per­fect his tech­nique be­fore pass­ing the driv­ing test with fly­ing colours.

Smith has al­ways en­joyed driv­ing. Fresh af­ter get­ting his li­cence, he took the long way to train­ing — leav­ing 30 or 60 min­utes early to take the scenic route through the York­shire Dales in­stead of the mo­tor­way.

Now that Smith is liv­ing in Aus­tralia, one of his favourite drives is in Vic­to­ria. “I used to love driv­ing my Maserati (Qu­at­tro­porte GTS) around the Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula. I used to drive it through tun­nels with the win­dows down to hear the beau­ti­ful sound.” Rover 200 TOUR­ING CAR TRAF­FIC CALMER

PAR­ENTS’ CAR

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