What Alps? The pleasures of driving a Ferrari Daytona in the Emirates
When you think of the World’s greatest driving roads you think of Alpine passes, Californian coastal roads and Italian mountain villages, perhaps you don’t instantly think of Ras al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates that forms the UAE.
Located 1.5 hours north of Dubai is Jebel Jais, 30km of perfect, smooth black top awaits the intrepid traveller, but what to drive? Well, we popped in to Tomini Classics in Dubai and they suggested we take their Ferrari Daytona (now sold). Who are we to argue with a suggestion like that! With the weather rapidly climbing to temperatures in the mid 30s at this time of year, we decide to set off from Dubai early in the morning while the air was relatively cool.
As you leave the city limits the scenery quickly turns to endless views of sand dunes and the occasional petrol station lighting up the early morning sky. They are huge or seem so, with nothing else around them and no matter what time of day, there’s nearly always a queue to get in! Who can blame them, with the low price of fuel making the ownership of a Daytona a cheaper proposition than in Europe!
As we peel off the main road we start to navigate through the mountainous scenery, the Daytona effortlessly soaks up the occasional bump, the high sidewall of the tyres and grand touring credentials making this a very comfortable journey. The road snakes between the barren jagged peaks until the road surface changes from slightly rough and grey tarmac to a perfect race track smooth surface, this is where the fun starts as we start the climb.
The sun starts to lighten the morning sky and it’s time to stretch the legs of the Daytona’s glorious Colombo V12 engine, the exhausts are now nicely warmed up and the windows are down so we can enjoy the noise of the engine note bouncing off the side of the mountain.
The road is wide, like a four-carriageway motorway, there are silky flowing snake like bends followed by wide open hairpins, nothing like the tight corners that almost warrant the use of a handbrake in the Alps! The climb takes around 20 minutes to reach the highest point of the road. The Jebel Jais is the highest peak in the UAE at 1934 meters but at 1250 meters there is a viewing park with food trucks and parking, the perfect place to pull over to soak up the view as the sun peaks through the mountainous area.
If you plan to try this yourself, make sure you pack a jacket, it is easy to forget that the air is much cooler at the top and the Ferrari has enjoyed sucking in every last drop of that fresh air through its six, twin barrel Weber carburetors. The Daytona is an utter delight to drive on a road like this, and as we head back down into the heat of Dubai, I cannot wait for my next chance to come and drive this road again.
Photos: Tim Hutton © 2021