‘A long drive’ took on a whole new meaning for some of the world’s best golfers this weekend as they took time out during the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Ahead of the event in the capital, which concludes on Sunday January 19, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Matteo Manassero and Paul Casey took part in a golf cart race at the nearby Yas Marina F1 circuit. 

Reaching speeds of about one-tenth that achieved by the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel,the quartet put on quite the show, proving that their competitive nature isn’t confined to the course.

Italian Manassero said: “When the golf carts chugged out from the pit lanes, I couldn’t help but laugh as we were about to race round a track accustomed to  F1 cars, rather than carts that max out at 15mph. Having visited the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix before, I had a vague idea of the circuit – but it’s a bit different when you’re actually down there on the track.”

After setting their initial qualifying times, the players returned to the track for the day’s finale. Following a slow start Donald soon found his stride and held off close competition to take the inaugural title.

And the former world No 1 said: “I’m so proud, humbled and excited.  What a race, what a day. I think I had the weight advantage – the other guys eat too much. Hopefully this is the start of many good things to come.”

Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised, though, after Donald spoke earlier in the week about his new found confidence.

“I’m very encouraged by what I am seeing and the progress I’ve made,” he told reporters before the tournament started. “So I’m hopefully looking forward to a lot better year than the last one. Obviously, wins give you confidence and tell a player he is moving in the right direction.”

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship 2014 is presented by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and runs at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.