How I survived driving an Opel Insignia Grand Sport on the wrong side of the road
Driving on the wrong side of the road is one thing. Driving fast on the wrong side of the road is another.
I'm no car expert, but I do know a good car when I drive one.
I recently flew to the outskirts of Frankfurt to test drive the new Opel Insignia Grand Sport, travelling with a lot of motor journalists and other people who really know their stuff when it comes to torque, chassis and flux capacitors.
Buzzwords and technical jargon mean nothing to me. To me torque is just a nickname for some posh kid called Tarquin. I'm reliably told that it is not.
I felt a bit like a fish out of water. When we arrived at Frankfurt Airport we were all assigned groups to be with and cars to drive.
Worldly as I am, I had never driven a left-hand drive vehicle and happily handed over the keys to two more experienced drivers - Jarlath and Michael.
They really took the car and pushed it to its limits on the autobahns.
It was a thrilling, exhilarating experience going that fast on a motorway. We then arrived at the Opel HQ in Rüsselsheim, just outside Frankfurt, and were given a presentation by Opel on all the capabilities of the new car (which seemed pretty redundant given the drive to get here).
We hit the road again for another leg of the journey which was a scenic route around the German countryside. We could really test how the car handled going around tight corners.
Our next meeting point was a very quaint farmhouse which was converted into a café. We had coffee and cake outdoors as the sun was shining and we felt like millionaires. Jarlath chose this moment to put me behind the wheel of the car.
The left-hand wheel of the car.
Lunch, coffee, cake... stay where you are.
He said I needed to start sooner or later and he was right. I got in and found it incredibly difficult to relax with the gear stick now on my right-hand side and having to drive on the other side of the road. However, after recalibrating my brain, I persevered and I drove it. I didn't go on any autobahns, but I still drove it.
Thankfully, I was on a very quiet country road with very little traffic.
They've changed a few things with the new Insignia and it feels good to be sat behind the wheel. You feel snug in the seat, totally immersed in the car and I like that feeling.
More coffee and cake was devoured and off we went on our final leg of the journey which was to be a countryside jaunt all the way back to the airport. Colin McRae wouldn't have had a patch on Michael as he took those country roads and bends like his life depended on it when in fact it was our lives who depended on it.
You can get all the technical stuff about the new Opel Insignia Grand Sport and request a test drive right here.