Gallery: M celebrates its 40th birthday
And TopGear.com headed to Germany to join the party… Rowan Horncastle reports
Posted: 11 Dec 2013
This is made immediately clear when he ignores the pit lane speed limit to take the M1 out of a chuntering unhappy mood into an oh!-Jesus-Christ-this-is-what-I've-read-about force of acceleration down to turn one. Then it's on the brakes - which are miles better than the road car - and turn in. Harald has to wrestle the heavy wheel, but as he exits the corner he mashes the throttle and applies the same amount of lock he used to turn in to the corner the other way to correct the slide that he's just provoked.
My initial feeling was that this must be a mistake. Racing drivers normally hate a bit of the sideways stuff. But not Harald. As the lap continues he gets more outrageous and on the second lap he turns corners four and five of the GP circuit into one by just drifting from one to the other.
Through turn 13 (the fastest corner) we're flat and at the top end of fifth. I'd would like to tell you how fast that was, but the speedo wasn't working. It was quick. Then it was a massive stamp on the brakes, and the best double-D clutching pedal performance I'd seen this side of a Walter Rohrl YouTube video. He may be 68, but Harald can move his feet quicker than Michael Flatley on hot coals.
He enters the pit sideways, and says nothing. We like Harald.