"First we will warm the tyres up, then we will go..."

Belgian world rally ace Thierry Neuville could pass for a visiting foreign exchange student, but for the fact he's strapped behind the wheel of a Citroen DS3 World Rally Car and his mood has just switched from friendly chit-chat to total concentration.

The 24-year-old selects first gear and boots the throttle. With short gear ratios and about 320bhp from the 1.6-litre engine ("the exact power figure is a secret - even to me," explains Neuville) we soar off towards the turnaround at the bottom of the hillclimb course at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

I yank on the belts strapping me down low into the co-driver's seat just as he gives the handbrake a tug. The car pivots on the spot and as we swing round I gulp a deep breath, and brace myself.

Throttle nailed the car carries on going round... and round and round again. Neuville catches the final slide and fires the DS3 forward in a lurid drift. All this before we've even started the official run.

"I think the tyres are warm now," he chuckles down the microphone. "I hope you are ready, there is more of that to come!"